Gongwer-Ohio is reporting that Democrats will file a challenge to get former Toledo mayor and current city councilman Jack Ford off the ballot. He is running as an independent against Sen. Edna Brown in the November election.
Here is the Gongwer story:
Democrats are preparing to file a challenge to get former Toledo Mayor Jack Ford off the ballot in his race for the Senate, where he is running as an independent against Sen. Edna Brown.
The party is concerned that Mr. Ford, a former House minority leader who currently serves as an at-large Toledo city councilman, could split the Democratic vote and hand the 11th Senate District to Republican Ernest McCarthy.
At a minimum, his entry into the race could force the Senate Democratic Caucus to spend money in a district where it otherwise wouldn't likely have to devote a significant amount of resources.
Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) said Mr. Ford was trying to get around Ohio law that requires candidates of the same party to square off in a primary election.
"You can't circumvent the system to try to make it more convenient for you. And in my opinion, that's what he's currently trying to do," he said in an interview Friday.
Sen. Schiavoni said Mr. Ford voted in the most recent Democratic primary election after filing his Senate candidacy petitions as an independent.
Mr. Ford couldn't be reached for comment before deadline.
Independent candidates have had success at the Toledo ballot box in recent years. Current Mayor D. Michael Collins and his predecessor Michael Bell both ran as independents.
No formal candidacy protest has yet been filed with the Lucas County Board of Elections and any such challenge will have to come from a registered voter in the district.
Sen. Schiavoni said the caucus might help pay for the legal expenses to help protect Sen.
State Sen. Edna Brown
"We have an incumbent state senator that's worked incredibly hard, is being challenged by another Democrat that did not want to run in a Democratic primary. So he's trying to circumvent the system to go in as an independent. That's illegal and we're trying to protect Sen. Brown," he said.
The law requires candidacy protests to be filed with elections officials by July 30. For legislative races, county boards of election hear the case and determine the validity of the candidate's petition.
One complicating factor, however, is the fact that Secretary of State Jon Husted recently removed three of the Lucas County Board of Elections' four members after years of what he called "a deep-rooted culture of dysfunction." Earlier this week, he rejected the local Republican Party's two recommended replacements and is still awaiting a nomination from Democrats.
Sen. Schiavoni acknowledged that Mr. Ford has good name recognition after decades of running for various offices in the district.
Sen. Brown won 60% of the vote in a two-way race in 2010. The addition of a well-known third-party candidate is a serious threat to her re-election in a district that was previously considered safe for Democrats.