ELYRIA — Following what he considers success in the November general election in Elyria politics, Elyria Democratic Party Chairman Mark Stewart said he intends to step down from his role effective Dec. 31.
“I think it’s a good time to do this. We picked up a seat, we held on to a seat and we raised some money for the party,” Stewart said.
Stewart said Democrat Mark Jessie’s win over Republican Garry Gibbs, who has held his seat in the 3rd Ward for 20 years, is a huge victory, as is Jack Cerra keeping the 7th Ward seat, even though there was a strong Republican challenger.
Future plans for Stewart include possibly moving to the Avon or Avon Lake area. His Elyria home is up for sale.
“We might have a prospect, so I think now is the time for me to step away before the next election cycle starts,” he said. “We want to have strong leadership in place before then.”
Stewart, a former county auditor, dismissed any suggestion that his resignation has anything to do with a fiery email exchange between he and Lorain County Democratic Party Chairman Anthony Giardini over Stewart’s support for a controversial plan to reform county government.
Giardini said he has nothing to do with Stewart’s decision to leave and no insight into who will be chosen as his successor.
“I don’t get involved in those decisions,” he said. “It will be up to the precinct committee. They picked Mark and they will pick his replacement.’’
Stewart said Tom Callahan, vice chairman of the Elyria Democrats, will step in as interim chairman Jan. 1. The party will have to decide if he will stay in that role or if someone else will be appointed.