Wednesday, September 19, 2018 Medina 67°
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Elections

Elections board splits along partisan lines over candidate's validity

  • 22927640

    Heidi R. Carroll, Republican candidate for judge of Medina County Domestic Relations Court, participates in a hearing concerning her candidacy Monday at the Medina County Board of Elections.

    BOB FINNAN / GAZETTE

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22927640

Heidi R. Carroll, Republican candidate for judge of Medina County Domestic Relations Court, participates in a hearing concerning her candidacy Monday at the Medina County Board of Elections.

BOB FINNAN / GAZETTE Enlarge

MEDINA TWP. — After almost three hours of testimony at a public hearing and deliberation, the Medina County Board of Elections was split Monday on the three protests filed against Heidi R. Carroll, a candidate for Medina County Domestic Relations Court judge.

Carroll is seeking the seat held by Judge Mary Kovack, who is running unopposed on the Democratic primary ballot for re-election.

The four-member board voted 2-2 on whether Carroll, the lone candidate for Kovack’s seat in the May 8 Republican primary, meets the requirement of six years engaging in the practice of law and that her candidacy is valid.

The board’s split vote was along party lines. Democrats John Welker and board President Pam Walker voted against her candidacy and Republicans Sharon Ray and Larry Cray voted in her favor.

“It’s not shocking,” Carroll said afterward. “I find it amusing.”

Because of the tie vote, Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, will decide the validity of Carroll’s candidacy.

The three protesters — Mary Emhoff, Allen Lowery and Mary I. Guilfoyle — believe Carroll hasn’t engaged in the practice of law for six years, as per requirements under Section 2301.01 of the Ohio Revised Code. They hired Medina attorney Pat Walker, of Walker & Jocke Co., LPA, to represent them.

“I strongly feel she does not have six years practicing law under the rule of the law and following the Ohio Revised Code so that we have judges that are qualified,” Walker said. “Obviously, six years of actually doing law is a minimal requirement.”

Medina County Assistant Prosecutor Mike Lyons presided over the hearing.

Walker immediately asked for a continuance, but the board didn’t consider the motion.

Walker then delved into Carroll’s work history. She worked as a corporate compliance specialist for the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, associate attorney for Reminger Co. LPA, corporate compliance specialist for Akron General Hospital, and currently as director of corporate compliance/chief privacy officer for Ohio Guidestone. She also does pro bono work as an attorney. Carroll said her years working as an attorney in Kovack’s court were learning experiences.

Carroll, of Liverpool Township, considers her jobs as corporate compliance specialists as part of her time practicing law. In some of her other positions, she provided legal counsel to the companies in which she worked.

“I meet all of the necessary legal requirements under Section 2301.01 of the Ohio Revised Code to run as a candidate for judge of the Medina County Domestic Relations Court in 2018,” Carroll said in a recent statement.

Carroll, in her statement, said she has an idea what the protests are about.

“Those protests are nothing more than poorly disguised political attacks against me by Judge Kovack’s own employees and supporters, who are afraid that Judge Kovack will not be re-elected on her dismal record unless she runs unopposed,” she said last week.

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.



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