December 21, 2014

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Lorain Democrats endorse Karen Shawver for treasurer

LORAIN — The Whig doesn’t fit well for Lorain’s Democratic Party.

City party members Thursday broke with tradition and endorsed Karen Shawver for treasurer over rival Anthony Haslage, who wrote on his campaign website that he would have preferred to run as a member of the modern Whig Party if it were viable.

The modern Whigs are based on the 19th century Whig Party. Formed in protest of President Andrew Jackson’s authoritarianism, the party helped get Whigs William Henry Harrison and Zachary Taylor elected president. The party dissolved in the 1850s due to opposing views on slavery.

Haslage’s views, including supporting privatization of Social Security, anti-union “right-to-work” laws and legalizing marijuana and prostitution, led to a unanimous voice vote of the approximately 45 Democrats meeting at the Lorain Public Library.

Paul Adams, Lorain City Democratic Party chairman, said the party rarely endorses primary candidates, but Haslage’s views were a reason to break with tradition.

“He’s clearly not a Democrat,” Adams, also Lorain County Board of Elections director, told members before the vote. “He’s only running as a Democrat because that happens to be a viable party.”

Shawver, who took office in 2010, said she was uncomfortable talking about herself but said she was proud of her accomplishments, which she said benefited taxpayers by increasing revenue.

“I know the city operations inside-out,” said Shawver, a city employee on and off since 1988. “I will make you proud as the city treasurer.”

Haslage, who didn’t attend the meeting, said that he expected Shawver to be endorsed and anticipates she’ll win the May 7 Democratic primary. While his support for increased privacy, state’s rights and weaker federal government are similar to Libertarian views, Haslage characterized himself as a socially liberal, fiscally conservative centrist.

Haslage, who said he didn’t know federal law forbids forcing workers to join unions in regards to “right-to-work” laws, said most of his views were in line with the majority of Democrats. He said the party needs to be more flexible. While most of the views on Haslage’s 22-page campaign platform have nothing to do with the job of city treasurer, Haslage said voters were entitled to transparency.

“My motto for this campaign is ‘efficiency and transparency,’” he said. “They should know exactly where I’m coming from.”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.