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Musical chairs isn�t re-election
Musical chairs isn’t re-election
Many of her constituents would agree that Mary Samide has done a good job for them as a Geauga County commissioner for the past 8 1/2 years. But, contrary to campaign signs posted along local roads, she is not running for re-election next month.
True, Mrs. Samide’s name will appear on the Nov. 6 as a candidate for Geauga County commissioner. True, Mrs. Samide is a current Geauga County commissioner. But the commission seat for which she is seeking election is different than the current one to which she was elected four years ago. So the campaign claim that she is up for re-election is not true.
In addressing false statements in election campaigns, the Ohio Revised Code says it is a violation “to use the term ‘re-elect’ when the candidate has never been elected at a primary, general, or special election to the office for which he or she is a candidate.”
Such violations most commonly occur following the resignation of a person who has been elected to a political office, which results in someone else being appointed to fill the vacant seat and later running for election to that same office. You can’t be re-elected unless you have first been elected.
If a complaint about such a violation is filed with the Ohio Elections Commission, it can result in a public rebuke, a slap on the wrist and perhaps even a fine. Or it can just stir up conspiracy theories, which happened in Burton three years ago, when Councilman Craig Ronyak posted signs urging voters to re-elect him just six months after being appointed to a vacant seat.
But the case of Mrs. Samide, who is no stranger to being appointed to a vacant seat, is somewhat more complicated.
She originally was appointed to the seat vacated by then-Geauga County Commissioner William Repke in May 2004 and was elected, not re-elected, to that seat the following November. She was legitimately re-elected in 2008.
But Mrs. Samide ran into some serious bumps on the road to re-election in 2012. Actually, she was knocked clean off the road. Ralph Spidalieri, a political newcomer, defeated her in the March Republican primary.
Let’s make this perfectly clear. Mrs. Samide lost her seat. She could not run for re-election to that seat unless she got on the ballot as a write-in candidate, which she did not do. Following the upcoming election, either Mr. Spidalieri or his Democratic opponent, Christopher J. Lacny, will be the new Geauga County commissioner in that particular seat.
But something else has happened in the interim. Geauga County Commissioner William Young, whose four-year term runs through 2014, announced his resignation in April. And during a raucous session of the Geauga County Republican Central Committee in July, Mrs. Samide was narrowly elected to replace him on the November ballot.
She was not elected to that office “at a primary, general, or special election.” She doesn’t even hold that office. It currently is held by temporary appointee Skip Claypool. The next four-year term for the office now held by Mrs. Samide will run through 2016. She is running to complete the two years remaining on Mr. Young’s term, which runs through 2014.
They are two different offices. Mrs. Samide is not running for re-election.
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