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Published: Friday, 8/22/2008

Democratic leaders to seek replacement for Tubbs Jones

ASSOCIATED PRESS
The flag flies at half-staff at the U.S. Capitol in honor of Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, a Democrat who represented the Cleveland area. She died Wednesday from a brain hemorrhage. The flag flies at half-staff at the U.S. Capitol in honor of Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, a Democrat who represented the Cleveland area. She died Wednesday from a brain hemorrhage.
HARAZ N. GHANBARI / AP Enlarge

CLEVELAND - Democrats have until Oct. 27 to find a candidate to replace the late U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones on the November ballot but yesterday held off speculating who that might be out of respect for the congressman's family.

By law, party leaders must find a replacement, said Jeff Ortega, a spokesman for Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner's office, which oversees elections in Ohio.

Ms. Tubbs Jones, 58, a Democrat and the first black woman to represent Ohio in Congress, died Wednesday after suffering a brain hemorrhage caused by a ruptured aneurysm.

The party's nominee can be selected by one of two leadership committees in the 11th Congressional District, which includes Cleveland and eastern suburbs Euclid, East Cleveland, Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights.

It was unclear if a special election was needed to choose someone to serve out the remaining four months of Ms. Tubbs Jones' term.

The state held a special congressional election last December following the death of U.S. Rep. Paul Gillmor, a northwest Ohio Republican who died in September from a fall at his Washington apartment.

Because no Democrat was powerful enough to challenge Ms. Tubbs Jones in her district, there are no obvious heirs, said Elizabeth Stiles, who teaches political science at John Carroll University.

The congressman's death leaves a political void in northeast Ohio as Democrats gear up for the presidential election. Ms. Tubbs Jones was to have been a super delegate at next week's Democratic National Convention in Denver.

The Republican chairman in Cuyahoga County said it was too early to discuss the political fallout.

"The main thing today is we all share in the loss. Greater Cleveland and the nation have lost a renowned fighter for civil rights and social justice," said Rob Frost, Cuyahoga County GOP chairman. "There will be time soon for looking forward. Right now is a time to reflect on a life well-lived."



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