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Published: Wednesday, 3/3/2004

Erie County Democrats jettison their common pleas incumbent

BY STEVE MURPHY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Erie County voters ended Ann Maschari s bid for a fourth term as Common Pleas judge yesterday, choosing Huron attorney Tygh Tone over her in the Democratic primary.

Mr. Tone, a one-time assistant to former Lucas County prosecutor Tony Pizza, is almost certain to take Judge Maschari s place next year because no Republicans filed to run.

Judge Maschari, first elected to the bench in 1986, was dogged by controversy over the backlog of cases in her court, an issue that Mr. Tone hammered home during his campaign. Delays in the preparation of an annual case summary by Judge Maschari led the Ohio Supreme Court to admonish her.

The backlog, in part, led to the creation of a second common pleas judgeship in the county. In the Democratic primary for the new seat, Sandusky attorney Kevin Zeiher easily defeated Nancy Ogden-Dellisanti, the magistrate for Judge Maschari.

In the general election, Mr. Zeiher will face Republican Roger Binette of Sandusky, an assistant Erie County prosecutor. Mr. Binette was unopposed in the GOP primary.

In Henry County, Common Pleas Judge Keith Muehlfeld turned back a challenge in the Republican primary from Gerald Laver, an assistant county prosecutor. No Democrats filed for the seat.

Judge Muehlfeld, who was the Napoleon Municipal Court judge from 1988 to 1995, was appointed to the common pleas post in 1995. He ran successfully for election in 1996 and won a full term in 1998. He was unopposed both times.

This fall, Republican David Busick and Democrat Denise Herman McColley will face off in the general election for the new judicial seat. Both were unopposed in the primary.



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