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Published: Wednesday, 3/24/2010

5 seeking Ujvagi's seat

BY JIM PROVANCE
BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU CHIEF
Ujvagi Ujvagi
AP Enlarge

COLUMBUS - Obviously not in search of job security, five Toledoans have sought appointment to complete the more than nine months left in Peter Ujvagi's term in the Ohio House of Representatives.

In a rare move, House Democrats are expected to swiftly name a placeholder, someone who will fill the duties for now in the 47th District but not run for election to the seat this fall. The selection could be announced as soon as today.

A search committee interviewed all five candidates and will make a recommendation to the full Democratic caucus.

Those who have applied include:

•Kathleen Steingraber, a real estate development consultant and former executive director of the Toledo Warehouse District Association.

•Joe Walter, director of the Lucas County Emergency Management Agency.

•John Dombrowski, a presiding judge for the Lucas County Board of Elections.

•Matthew N. Misener, teaching assistant at the University of Toledo's Department of Biological Sciences and preanalytical lab technician at Toledo Hospital.

•VJ Jetley, a recent graduate of the University of Toledo's law school.

The House appointment would have gone to state Sen. Teresa Fedor (D., Toledo) if she would have agreed to immediately move across the Statehouse rotunda. But she opted to stay put once it became clear her fellow Senate Democrats would not replace her until after the competitive May 4 primary election between Rep. Edna Brown (D., Toledo) and city Councilman Joseph McNamara.

Her future colleagues in the House, where Democrats hold a seven-seat majority, weren't willing to wait. She remains, however, the sole Democratic candidate for the House seat in the Nov. 2 election.

Barred from running again because of term limits, Mr. Ujvagi stepped down last week to become the new Lucas County administrator.

It is too late for someone appointed temporarily to the House vacancy to put his or her name on the ballot for a full two-year term. Ms. Fedor, term-limited in the Senate, will face the winner of the Republican primary election, Rick Bush or Phillip Barbosa, and Libertarian candidate Joseph Pfeiffer in November.

Toledo City Councilman Tom Waniewski, the Republican candidate for the 11th District Senate seat Ms. Fedor will vacate, urged House Democrats to appoint Ms. Steingraber in a letter sent to House Speaker Armond Budish.

"Giving someone seeking political office an unfair advantage by appointing them to any seat would be typical political posturing that a great majority of voters, I believe, resent," he wrote.

Contact Jim Provance at:

jprovance@theblade.com

or 614-221-0496.



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