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TALLMADGE -- A current City Council representative who had hoped to expand her base by running for an at-large seat will not be on the Sept. 12 primary ballot after her petition for candidacy was short the necessary signatures to secure the spot.
Ward 4 Representative Carol Kilway says she was "shocked" to learn she's been disqualified as a Democratic candidate. With Kilway's departure from the ballot, there are three Democratic candidates for the three at-large seats available and they will automatically advance to the general election, eliminating the necessity for a primary.
Nancy Laria of the petitions department of the Summit County Board of Elections said that after staff reviewed Kilway's submission and certified the signatures on it, it was determined to be five signatures short of the 50 needed. While Kilway turned in 57 signatures, eight were declared invalid because the signers were of the wrong political party, according to Laria. Another four were disqualified because of "various other reasons," according to Joe Masich, the elections board director.
Because Kilway is registered as a Democrat the people signing her petition had to have pulled a Democratic ballot, an issues only ballot or not voted in the two preceding calendar years.
Kilway said she had secured most of the required signatures about a week before they were due when she noticed an incorrect date on the paperwork; that error meant she had to start the signature collection process over. "So I had six days to gather as many signatures as I could," Kilways says, adding, "I guess it wasn't meant to be for me at this time."
Up for election are the three seats currently held by Council President James M. Donovan, Kimberly F. Ray and John D. Rensel. Their terms end Dec. 31, 2017.
Seven hopefuls met the June 14 filing deadline with the Summit County Board of Elections: incumbents, Donovan, a Democrat, and Rensel, a Republican. Ray did not file to seek re-election after seven years on Council. Also filing were three other Democrats -- Kilway, Michael Carano and Chuck Victor. Former City Council member William C. Laymon has filed to run as a Republican and Dennis Loughry, who retired as the city's economic development manager earlier this year, has filed to run as an Independent.
Kilway's ward term extends through 2019 and she says she intends to run for re-election. "I'm still on City Council and I still get to do the things I love to do for the citizens of Tallmadge, so that's what important," she reports.
The terms for the at-large seats in question begin Jan. 1, 2018 and run for four years.
Twitter: @ EllinWalsh_RPC