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Published: Saturday, 7/23/2011

2 candidates who refiled forbidden from ballot

Secretary of state rules on Toledo races

BY TYREL LINKHORN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The Ohio secretary of state has dashed the election hopes — for now, at least — of a Democrat running for Toledo Municipal Court judge and an independent seeking a seat on Toledo City Council.

John Coble, seeking the seat of Republican incumbent Judge Robert Christansen, and Daniel Angel, seeking the District 3 seat of incumbent Democrat Mike Craig, filed petitions with the Lucas County Board of Elections that were three signatures short.

Before the board could act, each withdrew his candidacy and refiled petitions. The Board of Elections has held off certifying either for the ballot as it waited for a directive from the secretary of state.

Jon Husted made that ruling Friday, saying a person who withdraws his candidacy may not refile for the same office in the same election.

The ruling may also affect a sitting Sylvania Township trustee who is seeking re-election.

Republican Neal Mahoney realized a date was wrong on his petitions after he’d filed but before the board had examined them.

Mr. Mahoney withdrew the petitions and refiled. The board voted June 14 to certify him for the ballot, but officials have asked the secretary of state for a clarification on whether Mr. Mahoney must be removed from the ballot.

He could not be immediately reached Friday night.

Mr. Coble, an Ottawa Hills lawyer and first-time candidate, believes the law is on his side and said he will take his case to the Ohio Supreme Court.

Mr. Angel, who stepped down as associate pastor with Solid Rock Ministries to campaign, said he was prepared to acknowledge his mistake in failing to gather enough signatures and wait four years to run. Instead, he was assured he could refile.

“They really gave us the green light to do it,” he said. “It’s very confusing, I guess.”

Jon Stainbrook, a Republican member of the elections board, said the problem should have been prevented.

“It’s unfortunate that all of this confusion could have been completely avoided if [former director] Linda Howe and [former deputy director] Jeremy Demagall would have paid attention to detail and followed the law. Even the board’s attorney, Lucas County Prosecutor John Borell, advised the board to prohibit these candidates from refiling, but they ignored his advice.”

Mr. Angel first filed March 13, before Ms. Howe and Mr. Demagall were removed from the board. Mr. Stainbrook said officials later applied that decision to Mr. Coble’s situation.

Mr. Angel had not yet reviewed Mr. Husted’s directive, and said he would wait to evaluate his next step. In the meantime, his campaign continues. “We’ve got to run as if we’re in this thing to win until we hear otherwise,” he said.

Because of the potential problem with Mr. Coble, the endorsed Democrat for judge, Lourdes Santiago also filed to run against Judge Christansen. The Board of Elections certified her petitions this week.

“She was planning on running if necessary,” Ron Rothenbuhler, county Democratic party chairman, said.

Mr. Coble said Ms. Santiago is a longtime friend who is qualified for the job if he’s unable to run.

He also levied accusations that the ruling was politically motivated by Mr. Husted, a Republican, and Mr. Stainbrook.

“Just to get little old me out of this judicial race, they’re willing to sacrifice other people,” he said. “I think that’s wrong, but I’m complimented by it.”

Mr. Stainbrook rejected that politics came into play in the decision.

Contact Tyrel Linkhorn at: tlinkhorn@theblade.com or 419-724-6134.



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