Leaders want to avoid wasting money on special elections

The Ohio Statehouse will consider two bills this general assembly that will essentially do the same thing: eliminate unnecessary one-candidate congressional elections.

House Bill 18 and Senate Bill 10 were both introduced last week to prevent the state from spending hundreds of thousands of dollars it doesn’t need to when just one candidate is seeking an office — or in the case of the 8th Congressional District race toward the end of 2016, when only one candidate was seeking to take the place of another in a partisan primary.

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Both bills were introduced in the 131st General Assembly but the bills’ sponsors say there just wasn’t enough time. This year, the Senate bill is once again sponsored by Sen. Frank LaRose, R-Hudson. The House bill is again sponsored by Rep. Dorothy Pelanda, R-Marysville, and Rep. Wes Retherford, R-Hamilton, is the bill’s joint-sponsor. Each bill has 19 co-sponsors.

Senate Bill 10 has been referred to the Government Oversight and Reform committee, which is chaired by Sen. Bill Coley, R-Liberty Twp. House Bill 18 has yet to be referred to a House Committee, but Retherford expects it to be assigned to a committee, most likely the Government Accountability and Oversight committee.

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The issue of a one-candidate congressional primary arose when 2016 Democratic congressional candidate Corey Foister decided to withdraw in late July 2016 from the 8th Congressional District race to be decided in the general election. That decision set in motion state protocols, and included Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted calling for a special election to replace Foister on the general election ballot.

Husted told this news outlet he tried to avoid holding a special election after only one candidate filed and was certified, but state law dictated he was required to hold a special primary election since Foister withdrew outside of 90 days before the general election.

If he would have resigned 18 days later, the state would not have spent a dime on a special election and the Democrats could have appointed a replacement.

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