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REGISTER VIEWPOINT: Primary colors Erie County's future

Commentary • Apr 25, 2010 at 1:49 PM

Primary elections. Yawn.

That's what most of us seem to think, anyway; Americans' dismayingly low voter turnouts are even lower for primary contests. Who wants to watch the prelims when the championship bout is on the way?

But this time, at least in Erie County, the real contest is in the primaries.

Bill Monaghan, county commissioner, is challenged by Huron City Council member Sam Artino, for the Democratic nod.

The winner of the May 4 vote faces Mike Pisarsky, laid-off grounds chief (but part-time landscaper) for the city of Sandusky, who is the Republican candidate, in November.

There's a lot at stake, and the decision starts May 4.

Monaghan got off to a slow start as the odd man out on the Board of Commissioners, but with the election of Pat Shenigo found a man with whom he could do business, and the two have gotten Erie County going in the right direction, as far as this editorial board can tell, on the road to fiscal responsibility.

Artino, who claims the backing of individual local Democrats and the unions (the county party has not endorsed anyone, though Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern has endorsed Monaghan), has his own ideas about fiscal responsibility and tells us he's nobody's "yes man."

We don't want to dismiss Pisarsky out of hand, but the fact is, with few exceptions, Erie County voters put Democrats in office at the county level. Maybe it's the lifelong habit of looking for the "D" after the name, but Republican officeholders at the county level tend to stick out by virtue of being rare.

County commissioners control millions of dollars of local spending, and influence millions of dollars more, so the May 4 vote deserves your full attention.

Don't stay home May 4. Voters -- Democratic voters and those who might lean that way -- take a look at Monaghan and Artino. Figure them out, figure out which one you prefer. The primary counts. Make your voice count in it.

Editor's note: This version contains information corrected from Sunday's print edition.

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