Party bosses talk smack about Erie County races

It’s obvious voters love commissioner Tom Ferrell Jr. and want him back, the leader of Erie County’s Democrats says. It’s cle
Tom Jackson
May 24, 2010

It’s obvious voters love commissioner Tom Ferrell Jr. and want him back, the leader of Erie County’s Democrats says.

It’s clear local voters are itching to dump Tom Ferrell, the top Republican leader says.

The general election isn’t until Nov. 4, but the local parties’ quarterbacks aren’t waiting for football season to begin tossing barbs downfield about the county commission races, which are shaping up as perhaps the year’s hottest local contests.

Ferrell, a Democrat serving his fifth term, faces Republican Michael Printy on the general election ballot.

“I thought it was very interesting how badly Tom Ferrell did (Tuesday) night,” said Mathew Old, chairman of the Erie County Republican Party

He noted Marcy Kaptur, unopposed on the ballot, won 13,976 votes, but that Ferrell, also unopposed, got 11,300 votes.

“People are fed up with his games,” Old said. “Even the Democrats are fed up with it, it seems.”

Amy Grubbe, chairwoman of the Erie County Democratic Party, said 6,279 Republican ballots were cast, but 17,499 Democratic voters showed up, reflecting the energy and enthusiasm Democrats are harnessing for their candidates this year, including Ferrell.

“The voters are happy with the incumbents, it looks like,” she said.

The other county commission race pits Democrat Pat Shenigo, who defeated Linda Miller-Moore, against Republican Joe Hayberger.

Shenigo is a businessman, and Hayberger, a retired teacher, was active in the teacher’s union in Sandusky Schools.

“The stereotypes are reversed,” Old said. “We’ll see how that plays out.”

Democrats would appear to be in good shape to retain control of the county commission. Bill Monaghan, who isn’t up for reelection this year, is a Democrat so Democrats could split this year’s contests and still keep control.

Old said he doesn’t see it that way.

“I’m extremely optimistic about taking back the commission,” Old insisted.

Tuesday’s primary revealed the rest of this fall’s local partisan matchups.

The incumbent Democratic clerk of courts, Barbara Johnson, will battle Republican challenger Steven Schaeffer.

The race for the U.S. House’s Ninth District this fall will be a rematch of the 2006 race, with Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, D-Toledo, against Republican Brad Leavitt. Kaptur was unopposed in the primary; Leavitt won 55.7 percent of the vote to defeat Ed Emery in the Republican primary.

The Ohio Senate District 2 contest, which includes Erie and Ottawa counties, will pit the appointed incumbent, state Sen. Mark Wagoner, a Republican, against Democrat Sylvia Washburn.

Wagoner rolled up 74.2 percent of the vote Tuesday while turning aside two Republican opponents, Mark Hollenbaugh and John Schulte. Washburn won about 70 percent of the vote to defeat Darwitt Garrett of Sandusky.

Erie County is represented in the Ohio House by state Rep. Chris Redfern, D-Catawba Island. Redfern, whose district includes Ottawa County, is leaving because of term limits. The race to replace him will match Democrat Dennis Murray Jr. against Republican Ed Enderle. Neither man faced a primary opponent.

Despite bad weather, Erie County’s ballots were counted and election results were posted by 10:15 p.m., reflecting the teamwork among election board workers, said Grubbe, a member of the election board.

When some of the county’s rural precinct workers had trouble bringing ballots into the election board office Tuesday night, two election workers, Bob Utter in Berlin Heights and Tim Dunlap in Oxford Township, got into their trucks and brought the ballots in, Grubbe said

“All of our poll workers went beyond the call of duty,” she said.