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Published: Monday, 4/24/2006

Auditor has a write-in challenger in GOP primary

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Lucas County Auditor Larry Kaczala said he ultimately decided to run for re-election to keep experience - and Republican representation - at the county level.

His opponent in the May 2 primary is newcomer Kamel Abdelshaid, a Republican from Maumee who will run as a write-in candidate.

Mr. Kaczala, who has been auditor for 13 years, said he had considered seeking a judgeship on the Lucas County Common Pleas Court. Saying he did not want to deplete the office of experience after learning several senior staff planned to retire if he left, Mr. Kaczala decided to again seek a four-year term as auditor.

The winner of the Republican primary will face Democrat Anita Lopez, county recorder, in the November general election.

"Next year, I'm going to have to rebuild the team that I built when I first came into the office in '93-'94," Mr. Kaczala said, in response to inquires about previous comments that he had accomplished everything he had set out to do in the auditor's of-fice. "We have people that have been here 30 years and a lot of people are retiring."

Mr. Abdelshaid, 38, who is a security supervisor at Owens-Illinois Inc., said he is running as a write-in candidate because he accidentally omitted a date on his filing petition that rendered it invalid. He said he decided to go ahead with the obvious disadvantage of not having his name on the ballot because so many people encouraged him to run.

A native of Egypt who became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2003, Mr. Abdelshaid said his strongest attribute was his ability to interact with people and to make a difference. He said his former career in Egypt was that of a businessman in the general contracting field.

"First of all, you have to not give this job to a government official; you have to give it to someone with experience, someone who is in the field, not in an office," Mr. Abdelshaid said. "My job is to go out, to have an open-door policy."

Mr. Kaczala, 49, countered saying he pledged more than a decade ago to bring county government "into people's living rooms" by creating a Web site.

"We're probably the most accessible government in the county," he said.



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