WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – For Trumbull County Sheriff candidate Joe O’Grady, it came down to a missed deadline. He needed to have filed his qualification papers by the December 16 — the filing deadline to run for election.
O’Grady didn’t get those qualification papers in until the next day — December 17 — and because of that, he was disqualified from the March Democratic primary for the Sheriff’s race. He told the Board of Elections that he spoke to a Trumbull County Judge on the 16th about the paperwork and was told that he could turn it in on the 17th.
“My petitions were filed, put in, November 13. But like I said, there was not intent to deceive or anything like that. My qualifications are there. It was just the matter of getting paperwork lined up,” O’Grady said.
O’Grady, former Warren policeman and the man behind the Dave Grohl Alley, stood before the Trumbull County Board of Elections on Monday afternoon and said he believed he had more time to file, due to a 2003 document that he read.
But the Board of Elections cited the Ohio Revised Code and pamphlets sent out by the Ohio Secretary of State which say that Sheriff’s candidates must file their qualification papers by the filing deadline, in this case, December 16.
Mark Alberini, chairman of the Trumbull County Board of Elections, called the situation unfortunate but said rules had to be followed.
“Any candidate that’s running for election, it’s incumbent upon them to understand the Ohio Revised Code, the rules, the regulations, the requirements set forth by law to become a candidate,” he said.
The Board of Election unanimously voted not to allow O’Grady on the March primary ballot during Monday’s meeting. Afterward, O’Grady would only say: “We’ll sort through it.”
There is some question as to whether O’Grady can refile as an independent candidate, though those that WKBN spoke with do not believe that he will be able to do so. That leaves incumbent Tom Altiere and Howland Police Chief Paul Monroe in the Democratic primary for Trumbull County Sheriff.
On Monday, the Trumbull Board of Elections today also considered a request from Ohio State Senate candidate Kristen Rock of Liberty. Rock wanted her opponent, Sean O’Brien, removed from the March ballot because he failed to list the date of the election.
The Board thought the mistake too minor and denied Rock’s request. O’Brien will stay on the ballot.
Rock was not pleased with the decision.
“We have a board that just denied someone’s petition because of handwriting, yet they approve someone’s petition who left out the date of the primary. It seems unjust,” she said. “We’ll just let the voters decide.”
The handwriting issue had to do with the petitions of Warren’s David Cook, who filed to run for Trumbull County Commissioner. One petition had 21 signatures, but the corresponding number looked like a 20. Because of that, Cook also can not run.