After a delay he claimed was because of political favoritism for Democrats and Republicans, Sylvania Township Trustee Kevin Haddad was certified Wednesday by the Lucas County Board of Elections to run for the office of county commissioner as a political independent.
Mr. Haddad, 56, a hairdresser and businessman, called for an independent to be added to the four-member elections board. "Maybe we need to put an independent on the board of elections, somebody that can oversee so we don't have favoritism either way," he said.
The elections board certified Mr. Haddad's petitions on Wednesday, well ahead of the May 18 deadline but after a 12-day delay in which the board sought the Ohio Secretary of State's opinion on whether Mr. Haddad's petitions were valid.
He will face incumbent Democrat Tina Skeldon Wozniak and Republican Jonathan Anderson.
Elected as a Republican township trustee in 2009, Mr. Haddad said he decided to run as an independent because he disagrees with the policies of Republican Gov. John Kasich.
Board members Jon Stainbrook, a Republican, and Ron Rothenbuhler, a Democrat, said they were doing their duty to ensure Mr. Haddad's petitions were valid.
"It's our job to double-check and triple-check to make sure everything is done appropriately," Mr. Stainbrook said.
The question that delayed Mr. Haddad's petitions centered on one of his petition forms that lacked the circulator's address. The secretary of state's office said the missing address did not invalidate the petition, although it would have invalidated a candidate running for federal office.
The advice was consistent with what the board was told by its own lawyers in the Lucas County Prosecutor's Office, said elections Director Meghan Gallagher.
Mr. Stainbrook said he could support adding an independent to the election board but said that's a call for the Ohio General Assembly.
"It sounds interesting but I'm not in the legislature. If that was proposed I would definitely not object to that," Mr. Stainbrook said. He said independents and minor party members should come forward and work on elections if they want more involvement with the elections process.
Mr. Rothenbuhler pointed out that the minor parties may also demand representation on the elections board. "What about the Libertarians and the Green Party? They're going to want a seat at the table. We can't afford that many board members," he said.
Mr. Haddad said he plans to run under the slogan: "Serious times call for serious people."
"The government is run by corporations, and you have to have someone looking out for the little guy," he said.
He owns Kevin Haddad Design Group on Monroe Street in Toledo and seven rental condos in Sylvania.
Contact Tom Troy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6058.