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The Suburbanite
  • Dems have every right to stay within party

  • The issue: Next Stark County sheriff

    Our view: There’s no crisis; why would they choose Dordea, or any Republican?

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  • The issue: Next Stark County sheriff
    Our view: There’s no crisis; why would they choose Dordea, or any Republican?
    Barring a sudden, fervent conversion to the Democratic Party, Lawrence Dordea doesn’t have a prayer of being appointed Stark County sheriff — and probably not a chance even then. And that’s OK.
    Under state law, the Stark County Democratic Central Committee doesn’t have to consider a Republican to fill the vacancy. There’s no reason for Democrats to act against their self-interest. There’s no reason for us to encourage them to do so.
    We wish the vacancy didn’t exist. The voters’ choice for sheriff, Michael A. McDonald, is too ill to take office.
    Now Dordea, the Republican who lost to Democrat McDonald in November, wants Democrats to appoint him. He went so far as to write a letter to the editor, touting his credentials and urging his supporters “and the others who have been left voiceless” to speak on his behalf.
    Everyone who voted had a voice and used it. The 52 percent who chose McDonald also implicitly chose McDonald’s party to name the next sheriff if he couldn’t serve. And under state law, voters of both parties still will have the last word — in 2014, when they choose someone to serve the last two years of the sheriff’s term.
    Not that politicians aren’t smart to sometimes make exceptions to the rules.
    In 2011, the Democratic Central Committee appointed Republican Alexander Zumbar to finish the term of Democratic Stark County Treasurer Gary Zeigler. It was a classy, self-sacrificing thing to do.
    Voters already had elected Zumbar to the unexpired term. He then lost the job when the Ohio Supreme Court reinstated Zeigler. After Zeigler finally resigned, the Democrats respected the wishes of the majority of voters and stuck with Zumbar.
    It was an extraordinary decision during a prolonged crisis in the treasurer’s office. There is no crisis in the sheriff’s office.
    You might be thinking, didn’t The Repository’s editorial board endorse Dordea for sheriff?
    Yes, we did. But the majority of voters saw the race differently, and that is what matters once the votes are counted.
    We can’t resist adding this, though:
    Stark County government doesn’t have to be ruled by state law. Stark Countians could write and approve a charter, as voters in Cuyahoga and Summit counties have. The charter could require nonpartisan campaigns for sheriff to begin with. Or it could give a county executive or county council the authority to hire the chief law enforcement officer. It could do virtually whatever a charter commission proposes and voters support.
    If you don’t like the rules for filling vacancies in partisan county offices, why not work to change them?