ELYRIA — County elections officials refused to accept Elyria school board member Holly Brinda’s petitions to run for re-election on Wednesday, just as she expected.
Brinda already has asked county Prosecutor Dennis Will to issue a ruling saying she is entitled to run for re-election, despite the fact that she’s already run and lost in a bid to unseat Elyria Mayor Bill Grace in the May primary.
Brinda said Elections Board Director Jose Candelario met her at the Elections Board on Wednesday and personally refused to accept her petitions, which had about 300 signatures, double what she needed to get on the November ballot.
Candelario said he would accept Brinda’s petitions if Will tells him to.
The Ohio secretary of state’s office already has ruled that a candidate who loses in a primary cannot run for school board in the same year.
The Aug. 3 directive from the state cited the so-called “sore loser” law that says no person “shall seek nomination or election” to more than one elected position in the same election.Brinda lost to Grace in a vote of 3,551 to 4,084 or about 47 percent to 53 percent.
David Gareau, Brinda’s attorney, said in a letter to Will his understanding of the law is Brinda would be barred from running for the school board if she won the mayoral primary, but since she lost she should be able to run for school board because they are two different elections.
Assistant County Prosecutor Gerald Innes said earlier this month that he agrees with the position taken by the state. Will did not return calls seeking comment.
If Will doesn’t intervene, Brinda said she may appear at an Aug. 30 meeting of the Elections Board to argue her case. Brinda said she hasn’t decided whether she’ll file a lawsuit to get her name on the ballot.
“I don’t want this to cost the taxpayers of Lorain County money,” Brinda said.
Meanwhile, today is the filing deadline to run for the Elyria school board and other nonpartisan races in the county.
Candidates who have taken out or submitted petitions for three seats on the Elyria board are two incumbents, Kathryn Karpus and on Boddy, along with Manuel Martinez Jr., Jeffrey McCullough, Michael Routa and Gregory Elek.
Brinda said she was impressed with the interest on the part of candidates, saying if need be, she can leave “with peace of mind."
Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or firstname.lastname@example.org.