Stow -- The Summit County Board of Elections certified most nominating petitions for candidates who have filed to run for judge and clerk seats at Stow Municipal Court this year.
However, the petition for incumbent Judge Kim Hoover, who has filed to run as a nonpartisan candidate in this fall's election, won't need certified for a couple months because of different deadlines for nonpartisan candidates.
Muni COURT JUDGE
At least two candidates are expected to challenge Hoover for his seat this November.
The board certified nominating petitions for Linda Malek (D-Cuyahoga Falls) and Kandi O'Connor (R-Hudson) Feb. 15.
The filing deadline for partisan candidates was Feb. 6, but the deadline for nonpartisan and independent candidates isn't until May 6. The filing deadline for write-in candidates is Feb. 25, according to the board of elections.
Board of elections director Joseph Masich said Hoover has already filed his nominating petition, but the board has until July 15 to certify petitions for nonpartisan and independent candidates, according to the Ohio Revised Code.
By filing nonpartisan, Hoover -- who is a registered Republican, according to board of elections voter information -- can bypass a primary and move on directly to the fall's general election.
Hoover has run nonpartisan in his last three elections -- his first race was in 1994 -- and said he intends to take the same approach in the coming election.
A state law passed since Hoover's last election actually requires the judge's race to have partisan primaries and nonpartisan elections. Because only one candidate for each major political party has filed, though, a primary this spring won't be necessary.
Masich has questioned whether Hoover's approach to filing is legitimate because of the various election laws surrounding party affiliations or lack thereof.
"I do not want to politicize a judicial campaign, so I refused to file as a [Republican], though I am," Hoover said.
In a letter to the board dated Feb. 14, Hoover attempted to address the questions surrounding his approach to filing.
He noted the Ohio Supreme Court has already addressed the issue.
"In [State ex. rel. Allen v. Warren County Bd. Of Elections], the Ohio Supreme Court held that 'nonpartisan' candidates for municipal court judge ... are not governed by the same 'non-affiliation' requirement that ordinarily apply to independent candidates," wrote Hoover. "In essence, the Supreme Court has drawn a substantive distinction between 'nonpartisan' candidates who run for municipal court judge and 'independent' candidates who run for other political offices."
"I trust that this memorandum fully answers the questions that have been raised about the validity of my nominating petition," wrote Hoover in a concluding paragraph.
CLERK OF COURTS
Petitions for Frank Larson (R-Munroe Falls) and Diana Colavecchio (D-Cuyahoga Falls), who have filed to run for the position of Stow Municipal Court clerk, were certified by the board Feb. 15.
Larson is the current Munroe Falls mayor, while Colavecchio is the current clerk at Stow Municipal Court who was appointed to fill the seat after it was vacated by Lisa Zeno Carano.
Whomever wins in the November election will fill out Carano's remaining term, which ends December 2015. The seat typically carries a six-year term.
That race features a partisan primary, but a nonpartisan election, so party lines will not be listed by individual's names on the fall ballot.
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