Outgoing mayor promises to donate $27K toward ’08 commissioner run
LORAIN — Lorain Safety Service Director Mike Kobylka has 27,000 reasons to run for county commissioner.
After Kobylka confirmed Thursday that he wants to throw his hat in for the high-rankedcounty position, outgoing Lorain Mayor Craig Foltin promised to give him nearly $27,000 — all that remains in his campaign fund — for the race in 2008.
Foltin announced in February that he will not be seeking a third term.
Candidates are allowed to donate their campaign money to any campaign fund they choose.
Having that much money this early in the game should work in 28-year-old Kobylka’s favor, according to county Republican Party Chairman Robert Rousseau.
Commissioner Lori Kokoski spent about $43,000 to win her seat in 2004, while Commissioner Ted Kalo spent close to $100,000 the same year. Commissioner Betty Blair, who won her seat for the fifth time last year, spent about $35,000.
Rousseau said the 0.25 percentage point sales tax increase that the commissioners recently passed, which was then placed on the November 2007 ballot through a petition drive led by outraged citizens, could favor whoever runs against the incumbents in 2008.
“A lot of people are upset about that tax issue, so he could have a real good shot,” Rousseau said. Rousseau said he has not discussed with Kobylka whether he has an interest in running, but plans to do so soon.
Kobylka would have his choice of two seats to run for because Kalo and Kokoski, both Democrats, are up for re-election next year. If he won, Kobylka would be the first Republican commissioner since David Moore held a seat four years ago.
But even with Foltin’s contribution, Kobylka hasn’t committed to a run.
“Some people have been talking to me about it, and I’ve been considering it,” he said.
Other possible contenders include Amherst Councilman Nick Brusky, a Republican who was instrumental in leading the petition drive against the sales tax increase.
Although he is running for re-election to his council seat this year, Brusky said he also is mulling a possible run at commissioner and said Kobylka’s lack of political experience will hurt him.
Kobylka spent five years as a field representative and community outreach liaison for Republican U.S. Sen. George Voinovich, with whom he still keeps in touch, before going to work for the city as the chief deputy safety service director in February 2006.
He was promoted to his current position in September following the resignation of Craig Miller, who was found guilty of obstruction of justice.
Kobylka graduated from John Carroll University in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and expects to earn a master’s degree in marketing and public relations from Ashland University this year.
“He’s the future of this area,” Foltin said Thursday. “Guys like Mike are young, educated, homegrown people. That’s the perfect mix.”
Contact Adam Wright at 329-7151 or firstname.lastname@example.org.