GOP central committee endorses 2 candidates

 

The Delaware County Republican Party's central committee endorsed candidates in two contested races at its Jan. 14 meeting but failed to reach a consensus in a third contested race.

State Rep. Kris Jordan received 69 out of 94 votes for the Ohio Senate race endorsement while county commissioner Todd Hanks got the party's endorsement for a full term as county commissioner.

After four votes, none of the five candidates for the 2nd District Ohio House seat now held by Jordan received the required number of votes for an endorsement.

Jordan is seeking the Senate seat now held by Republican Bill Harris, who can't run again because of term limits. Three other Republicans asked the central committee for an endorsement. They are former state Rep. Thom Collier of Mount Vernon, who came in second with 21 votes. Lou Petros from Knox County and R. William Justice of Ashley each received two votes.

Hanks, who was appointed to the commission last January, will face Delaware City Council member Andrew Brush in the May primary. Hanks received 55 votes to Brush's 31 votes. Four ballots were turned in blank.

Prior to the first vote for the Ohio House seat, several committee members expressed concern about endorsing any one candidate, citing the "strengths" of all the candidates.

The candidates are Delaware County recorder Andrew Brenner, Delaware Municipal Court chief deputy clerk Traci Saliba, former legislative aide Beth Lear, lawyer Mark Phillips and business owner Craig Schweitzer.

An endorsement in this race could "artificially prop up a candidate and shun the rest," said Powell committee member Janelle Grubbs. "Primaries are held for a reason and we should leave it up to the voters to decide."

Delaware committee member Jerry Heston disagreed.

"We on the central committee were elected to represent the people in our ward," he said.

Fifty votes were needed for the endorsement.

In the first vote, Brenner received 37 votes, Saliba received 33, Lear and Schweitzer received 11 each and Phillips received six.

In each of the subsequent ballots the lowest vote getter was dropped until it was down to Brenner and Saliba.

On the final ballot Brenner received 44 votes and Saliba got 41, with 10 members voting not to endorse and four ballots left blank.

"No candidate received the majority (of the votes) so we will not endorse," said Teri Morgan, committee chair.

The party unanimously endorsed four unopposed candidates: Delaware County prosecutor Dave Yost, who is running for Ohio attorney general; former U.S. Rep. John Kasich, who is running for governor; U.S. Rep Pat Tiberi (R-Genoa Township), who is running for re-election; and county auditor George Kaitsa, who is running for his first term after being appointed to the position last February.

The committee also endorsed Morgan, who is seeking a seat on the party's state central committee.

Candidates have until Feb. 18 to file the necessary paperwork with the elections office to appear on the May 4 ballot.