Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted today appointed Republicans Mark Wagoner Sr. and Peter Handwork and Democrat Brenda Hill to vacancies on the Lucas County Board of Elections.
Mr. Husted said he made the appointments to keep the board operational, pending a decision on an appeal filed by the Lucas County Republican Party with the Ohio Supreme Court.
Mr. Wagoner is a lawyer, and the father of former state Sen. Mark Wagoner, while Mr. Handwork is a retired judge from the Ohio Sixth District Court of Appeals. Ms. Hill is a retired teacher and former member of the Toledo Board of Education. She was also treasurer of the Lucas County Democratic Party but said she resigned effective with Mr. Husted‘s appointment of her to the elections board.
Three board members, Republicans Jon Stainbrook and Tony DeGidio and Democrat Ron Rothenbuhler, were removed on June 5 because of what the secretary of state said was a culture of dysfunction and for failure to carry out some duties of the board. A fourth board member, Democrat John Irish, was retained on the board but had been suspended until the three appointments were made.
The Lucas County GOP nominated two different replacements last month, but they were rejected by Mr. Husted as connected with the problems of the past. The local party has filed a petition with the Ohio Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus alleging that Mr. Husted overstepped his authority to reject the nominations of Kelly Bensman and Ben Roberts and to compel him to make those appointments.
Mr. Husted pointed to the need for a board to be in place to run the upcoming special election on Aug. 5.
“It had been my hope that these issues could be settled locally; however, that solution remains elusive. With litigation pending, it is my hope that we will reach resolution sooner rather than later. As I have in all other litigation, I will abide by the court’s order, but until the matter is resolved, I am charged with ensuring that the board of elections remains operational, and it cannot do so without this action today,” Mr. Husted said in his letter announcing the appointments.
Contact Tom Troy at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6058 and on Twitter @TomFTroy.