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Published: Thursday, 3/11/2010

Opting out of being named to seat, Brown will still run

BY JIM PROVANCE
BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU CHIEF

COLUMBUS - State Rep. Edna Brown (D., Toledo) last night took herself out of contention for a possible appointment to a Senate vacancy, bringing an end to speculation over whether Senate Democrats would promptly fill the spot.

But she still will square off against Toledo City Councilman Joe McNamara for her party's nomination to replace Sen. Teresa Fedor in the May 4 primary election.

"We're going to have a primary," Ms. Brown said. "We're just going to bump heads for the seat. I'm going to knock him off, and then nobody can say anything was given to me. I'm going to earn it."

The 12 members of the Senate

Democratic caucus have been sharply divided over whether to immediately appoint someone to fill the seat representing the 11th District when Ms. Fedor moves over to the House, possibly as soon as this month.

Ms. Brown had been lobbying for the appointment. However, Mr. McNamara had traveled to Columbus to do some lobbying of his own, arguing that no one should be appointed until after the results of the primary election are known.

The caucus was reportedly deadlocked over how to proceed. Spokesman Mike Rowe said yesterday that Senate Minority Leader Capri Cafaro (D., Hubbard) would not announce her decision until after she'd spoken with the people involved.

Both Ms. Brown and Mr. McNamara said those discussions had yet to take place as of last night.

"I think [Ms. Brown] made the right decision," Mr. McNamara said. "Letting the people decide who will represent them makes more sense than an appointment this near to the election. I'm looking forward to a hard-fought primary, and I wish her the best of luck."

The winner of the nomination will face Republican City Councilman Tom Waniewski in the fall.

Ms. Fedor, who can't seek another Senate term because of term limits, is expected to be appointed in the House to replace Rep. Peter Ujvagi (D., Toledo) when he leaves the chamber next week to become Lucas County administrator.

She is the only Democratic candidate on the November ballot. Typically, the party holding the seat hands its candidate the advantage of incumbency going into an election whenever a vacancy allows. The only unanswered question is when she would make the move.

A vacant Senate seat through early May would leave about 320,000 residents of eastern Lucas County without a voice in the Republican-controlled chamber. A vacant House seat would affect one third as many people.

Contact Jim Provance at:

jprovance@theblade.com

or 614-221-0496.



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