ELYRIA — State Rep. Matt Lundy, D-Elyria, announced Monday that he will run for Lorain County commissioner next year.
Lundy, who is term-limited from running for re-election to the State House, is seeking the seat currently held by county Commissioner Tom Williams, the three-member board’s lone Republican.
A former reporter, Lundy has served as an Avon Lake city councilman and was assistant safety-service director in Elyria under former Mayor Bill Grace. He previously ran for county commissioner in 1994, but lost the primary to now-retired Commissioner Betty Blair.
He said although the primary election is still more than a year away he wants to begin getting his campaign up and running.
“We have a lot of work to do to build a strong team to win in a very big county,” Lundy said. “We must win in May to compete in November.”
Williams, who lives in Amherst, said he plans to seek re-election. He said he wasn’t surprised by Lundy’s announcement because he’s been hearing rumors of Lundy’s intentions for months.
“I knew he was going to run,” Williams said. “With him being term-limited he’s going to be looking for a job.”
Williams said he believes he’s done a good job for county residents as county commissioner. He said he asks questions, challenges the status quo and is a good steward of taxpayer dollars.
Williams also has clashed with his fellow commissioners, Democrats Ted Kalo and Lori Kokoski. Kalo said after he and Kokoski won re-election in November that he was looking forward to Williams’ re-election effort. It was a reference to what Kalo saw as Williams’ efforts to see him defeated by Amherst City Councilman Phil Van Treuren.
“I’m willing to take my record and my reputation up against anybody who wants to run against me,” Williams said.
Lundy largely declined to discuss Williams, saying that he is focused on the primary, not the general election.
“I wouldn’t be running for the job if I didn’t think I could do a good job or a better job,” he said.
Williams said he doesn’t know if he will face a primary opponent. He said he’s heard Democrats have been asking other Republicans to challenge him, though.
Columbia Township Trustee Mike Musto, a Republican who unsuccessfully challenged Kokoski last year, said he’s been asked by some people whether he would run against Williams, but declined to say who had approached him. He said he backs Williams and is focused on his own re-election effort.
Lorain County Democratic Party Chairman Anthony Giardini said that while he couldn’t speak for every Democrat in the county, neither he nor any party leader has asked Republicans to challenge Williams in the primary.
Giardini also said that generally the party leadership doesn’t endorse a candidate in its own primaries. But he said Lundy will be a strong candidate.
Giardini also said that Lundy’s announcement, the first in the Democratic race, isn’t early. He said Democrats eying a run against Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, in 2014, have already begun to make decisions about whether or not they’ll enter that race.
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or firstname.lastname@example.org.