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Government and Politics

Stark County Democrats are set to appoint a new sheriff
The county party has been busy in recent years finding replacements for elected officeholders

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
Stark County Democratic Party Chair Randy Gonzalez is pushing former Highway Patrol District Commander George Maier for sheriff. The county prosecutor is backing sheriff's Lt. Larry Darrow.
Courtesy of Stark County Democratic Party
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Stark County Democrats will be picking a replacement sheriff next week, and at least one Republican has put in for the job. But unlike 15 months ago, this is likely to be a party pick. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more.

SCHULTZE: And the candidates are ...

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For the second time in less than three months, Stark County is picking a sheriff. But this time, it’s up to about 200 Democratic Party insiders, rather than 171,000 voters.

Mike McDonald was elected sheriff in November but never took office, citing ill health. He’s a Democrat. So state law says it’s up to the county’s Democratic Party Central Committee to come up with his successor. It plans to do that Tuesday evening.

County Democratic Party Chairman Randy Gonzalez says this is all becoming a familiar exercise.

“I think we’ve appointed almost every countywide office, from county engineer, to commissioner to clerk of courts to treasurer. So it’s been an active committee over the past few years.”

For sheriff, committee members will likely pick between retired Ohio Highway Patrol Commander George Maier and Stark sheriff’s Lt. Louis Darrow, both Democrats.

Gonzalez doesn’t give the third candidate, Larry Dordea, much of a chance.

“He ran twice and was rejected twice by the voters.”

And, he’s a Republican.

It’s rare when either Republicans or Democrats pick anyone except a fellow party member for these kinds of appointments. One notable exception was 15 months ago in Stark County, when Democrats picked Republican Alex Zumbar for treasurer. That wrapped up an odd political and legal case,  in which the former treasurer was forced out, reinstated and resigned – with Zumbar elected somewhere in between.

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