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Published: Thursday, 3/4/2010

Democrats mull timing in filling Fedor's seat


COLUMBUS - Ohio Senate Democrats met behind closed doors yesterday to discuss whether they should promptly fill a vacancy expected soon in state Sen. Teresa Fedor's Toledo district. No decision was made.

"I'm hoping to identify if there are precedents as to the timing issue," said Senate Minority Leader Capri Cafaro (D., Hubbard). "I was appointed, but most of the time it's done a year or more before the election. My hope is that historical research can guide us through the process."

State Rep. Peter Ujvagi (D., Toledo) will resign his seat at the end of the day on March 17 to become Lucas County's administrator.

Ms. Fedor, who cannot run again in the Senate because of term limits, is the sole Democrat on the ballot to replace him in November. She's expected to get the House appointment.

That, in turn, would create a vacancy in Ohio's 11th Senate District where a primary election battle is brewing for the Democratic nomination.

State Rep. Edna Brown (D., Toledo), term-limited in the House, wants the Senate appointment. Her opponent, Toledo City Councilman Joe McNamara, would like it too, or at least would prefer for the caucus to wait until after the May 4 primary.

The primary winner will square off in November against Republican Tom Waniewski, a Toledo city councilman who said he believes the caucus should appoint an interim senator who could represent the district but not run in the fall.

Democrats, outnumbered 21-12 in the chamber, are unlikely to relinquish the opportunity to appoint their preferred fall candidate.

He or she would have the advantage of running as an incumbent on Nov. 2.

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