Lucas County Republicans plan to head to court to force the Ohio secretary of state to accept their picks for a pair of elections board vacancies.
The county party‘s executive committee decided tonight to ask a court to intervene after Secretary of State Jon Husted rejected party operatives Ben Roberts and Kelly Bensman for the posts last week.
Mr. Husted rejected the pair because, he said, they were both too involved in the activities that contributed to the dysfunctional and fractious environment in the board that oversees elections in Lucas County.
The secretary of state is required by state law to approve the parties’ first nominees unless he deems them to be incompetent, which he must state in writing. Whether he also has the right to deny a second appointee is not clearly spelled out in state law.
The executive committee, which is made up of appointees, elected ward chairman, and elected Republican officials, met tonight behind closed doors at the Main Street Grill in East Toledo.
On June 5 Mr. Husted removed party chairman Jon Stainbrook, fellow Republican Tony DeGidio, and Democrat Ron Rothenbuhler from the elections board. At the time, he strongly hinted that he would like to see two retired judges, Republican Peter Handwork and Democrat Charles Wittenberg, appointed as replacements. However, neither party has done so.
Mr. Husted is under no statutory deadline, and is taking his time to decide whether to approve the Democratic nominee, retired teacher and former school board member Brenda Hill.