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Published: Saturday, 9/3/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago

GOP rival criticizes ex-elections official

Jasinski alleges claim by Demagall untrue

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The Republican candidate trying to unseat the independent Toledo district councilman from South Toledo launched a visceral strike against another contender for the spot — a fellow Republican in the three-way race.

Steve Jasinski, who works as a manager at Reggie’s Bike Shop in West Toledo, released a statement Friday attacking opponent Jeremy Demagall, fired in March from his job as deputy director of the Lucas County Board of Elections on the orders of the Ohio secretary of state.

Both men are trying to defeat Independent D. Michael Collins for the District 2 seat. The three will face off in a primary election Sept. 13, and the top two vote-getters will move on to the general election in November.

Mr. Jasinski said Mr. Demagall is “misrepresenting himself as someone who saved the taxpayers money, when he clearly did not.”

“The fact is that he cost the taxpayers money while he was employed as Deputy Director at the Lucas County Board of Elections by exceeding the Board’s budget by $1,000,000,” according to his emailed statement.

The reasons for the budget overage were actually from the demands of complying with then-new requirements for the 2008 presidential election, which helped push the Lucas County Board of Elections over its budget by about $1 million.

The board was budgeted to spend $2.9 million in 2008, but spent $3.9 million, said Linda Howe, who was then elections director. The 2008 presidential election involved offering paper ballots to voters in addition to the touch-screen voting machines, buying more postage to handle a larger number of absentee ballots, and hiring workers to handle the flood of absentee ballots and signature petitions. The county also staffed and equipped an off-site early voting center for the first time, at a cost of $60,000.

Mr. Demagall could not be reached for comment Friday night.

Mr. Jasinski also makes an accusation about the motives for Republican Councilman Rob Ludeman’s support of Mr. Demagall.

“Mr. Demagall is only running because he is being used by Toledo City Councilman Rob Ludeman to get back at current District 2 Councilman Mike Collins, who is not voting the way Mr. Ludeman wants him to vote,” the candidate suggested. “Frankly, the fact that Mr. Ludeman is trying to pass off my opponent as a viable candidate makes me question Mr. Ludeman’s own integrity.”

Mr. Ludeman said the remarks were unfounded.

“It is totally untrue. Jeremy approached me. I didn’t approach him and there would be no reason for me to find a candidate to run against Mike Collins,” Mr. Ludeman said. “As a Republican, it appeared [Lucas County Republican Party Chairman Jon] Stainbrook had no viable named candidates by the time Jeremy had approached me. I don’t understand where Jasinski is coming from because there would not be any gain for me at any time.”

Mr. Demagall is a Republican but has said previously that he is not seeking the party’s backing. Mr. Ludeman is his campaign committee chairman.

Mr. Ludeman objected to Mr. Demagall’s firing by the elections board at the time. Mr. Demagall and Ms. Howe, a Democrat, were removed at the order of Secretary of State Jon Husted in March for counting 114 provisional votes that had been cast in the wrong precincts in the November, 2010, election.

In ordering their firings, Mr. Husted, a Republican, said the two counted the disputed provisional ballots contrary to the “explicit guidance” of the secretary of state’s office. Mr. Demagall has previously said he and Ms. Howe oversaw a period in which the elections board saved money while running “timely” elections.

Contact Ignazio Messina at: imessina@theblade.com or 419-724-6171.



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