Wednesday, February 05, 2014

No real surprises at filing deadline for May primary; National Signing Day

The usual flurry of last minute filings produced no real news at today’s deadline. Most incumbents eligible to return to their seats [some state legislators are term limited], filed early to allow themselves a margin for error. 

Cuyahoga County leans so heavily Democratic that the Republican Party is unable to field even a single candidate, much less the two or more that would make a GOP primary meaningful.

Meanwhile, much of the suspense on the Democratic side was resolved last Saturday when the Party’s executive committee met at Euclid High School and endorsed candidates for the state legislature, county council, county executive, and county judgeships. Those endorsements are especially significant in primaries where turnout is relatively low, and challengers are usually less well known. The early endorsement process forces would be candidates to declare themselves early if they harbor any hope of winning the party’s stamp of approval.

Thus it may be that the biggest story coming out of last Saturday’s executive committee session is that some incumbents and big names who would normally be expected to snare an endorsement did not. State Representative John Barnes was one such incumbent unable to snare the 60% of present and voting executive members necessary to win endorsement. This result is at least partly attributable to the fact that his primary opponent, former Pepper Pike councilwoman Jill Miller Zimon, has been running hard and smart for months. This House District 12 race is likely to be closely watched for a number of reasons, including the fact the primary winner will have smooth sailing to Columbus, since the seat is one of four General Assembly seats that drew not a single Republican aspirant. The races for Senate Districts 21 and 25, and House District 10 also saw no GOP candidate file, even though both Senate seats will be open, that is without an incumbent. State Sen. Shirley Smith, D-21 is term limited and running for county executive, while State Sen. Nina Turner, D-25, bypassed a bid to retain her seat, choosing instead to run statewide for Secretary of State.

In addition to Zimon’s successful holding action against Barnes, a second noteworthy result from last Saturday was Cleveland city councilman Mike Sweeney’s failure to win endorsement in the race to represent House District 14. He will have to duke it out with two credible challengers.

We will report on the composition of all the races for both parties once the Board of Elections has ruled on the validity of those candidates who filed close to deadline.
• • •

A cautionary tale on National Signing Day

Today was the day on which high school seniors could, with unseemly fanfare, formally announce the college they will attend this fall in order to continue their education and play football.

While we rejoice with the young men whose athletic prowess has opened doors that might otherwise have remained closed in our increasingly unequal society, we nonetheless wish to offer this cautionary reminder of the pitfalls along the road. [h/t to Roger Jones].

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