ELYRIA — Ray Noble said Tuesday there won’t be any vote among his fellow Elyria Republicans over whether he should be replaced as the party’s candidate in the Elyria mayoral race.
Noble said he can’t stop local precinct leaders from discussing it at an upcoming meeting, which was delayed from Friday until July 15 because of the upcoming holiday weekend, but he’s not letting what would amount to a no-confidence vote in his candidacy go forward.
“There’s nothing to vote upon. I am the candidate,” he said.
Some Republicans have been pushing Noble, who defeated David Ursi Jr. in the May primary, to drop out of the race, which would allow the party to replace him with former City Councilman Jack Baird.
“The only way they can replace me is if I give it up or if I die,” Noble said. “I have no intention of doing either one.”
Noble said he will also delay his planned leave of absence from the party chairmanship until he can stop the efforts to remove him as the candidate.
“I have some issues with some members of my party that I want to address,” he said.
Those who don’t like that he’s staying in the race against Democratic candidate Holly Brinda, who defeated incumbent Mayor Bill Grace in their party’s primary, can resign from the party, Noble said.
Baird, who is on the ballot as a candidate for an at-large Council seat, said he still has an interest in replacing Noble, but given Noble’s refusal to consider stepping aside, there’s not much point in pursuing it.
“I’m still open, but I’m not enthralled or as excited about it as I once was,” he said.
Baird has said that he was approached by others who were concerned that Noble wouldn’t be able to win the support needed to beat Brinda in the November election. Noble, however, insists that Baird is a leading member of a conspiracy to get him to drop out of the race.
“There will be no backroom deals as long as I’m chairman of the party,” Noble said.
Baird scoffed at the notion that the discussion about having him take Noble’s place was anything more than an effort to do what’s best for the party and the city.
“There’s no conspiracy,” Baird said. “I think there’s what you’d call concern that he really doesn’t have a good chance to win and I would.”
Baird said it was his impression that Noble had run more as a placeholder candidate and would step aside if a more viable candidate appeared, but that no longer appears to be Noble’s mindset.
“I’ve been disappointed that he’s been so close-minded,” Baird said.
But Noble said he ran for the right to represent Republicans in November in the mayoral race and Baird didn’t, and as far as he’s concerned that’s the end of the matter.
“I feel betrayed,” Noble said.
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or firstname.lastname@example.org.