Sunday, July 23, 2017 Medina 68°
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16th District Democrats choose 2016 delegates

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More than 200 Democrats gathered Tuesday night in the Medina Performing Arts Center to select delegates from the 16th Congressional District to attend the Democratic National Convention in July.

The delegates will join 156 others from Ohio at the convention in Philadelphia to choose the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate.

The Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton campaigns each selected five delegates — two men, two women and one woman alternate.

Katharine Jones, Judy Flamik, Michael Caldwell and Steve Holecko along with Marsha McCroden as the alternate were selected to represent Sanders.

Clinton supporters chose Pat Walker, Mary Catherine Barrett, Matthew Patten and Nicholas Baker, a 20-year-old John Carroll University student from Granger Township. Paula Prentice was selected as the Clinton campaign alternate.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who failed to qualify for Ohio’s Democratic primary ballot, was not represented at the caucus.

Only four delegates from 16th District, which includes parts of Medina County, will attend the July convention.

The ratio of Clinton to Sanders delegates attending the convention will hinge on the outcome of Ohio’s March 15 primary. If a candidate gets less than 15 percent of the vote, the supporters of the candidate who live in the district won’t be represented at the national convention.

Candidates with more than 15 percent will get one delegate; more than 40 percent, two delegates; more than 62 percent, three delegates; and more than 85 percent, all four delegates, said Stephen Spoonamore, the District 16 caucus chairman for Bernie Sanders.

The 16th District roughly is shaped in an area resembling the letter “V” — ranging from Rocky River in Cuyahoga County to Uniontown in Stark County to Portage County to Wayne County to Copley and Norton in Summit County. It includes seven Medina County townships.

Nick Hanek, caucus coordinator, said this is the first presidential caucus in the district since it was created after Ohio lost two congressional seats following the 2010 U.S. Census. Hanek is a Brunswick City Council member.

Altogether, 88 people voted in the Sanders delegate election and about 120 people voted in the Clinton election, said Spoonamore and Allison Rochford, District 16 caucus chairman for Clinton.

“There are a lot of people here for this kind of event,” Hanek said.

Tim Russo, of Middleburg Heights, came out to support the Sanders campaign.

“I’m supporting Bernie because I want more FDR and less Clinton,” he said.

Jerry Dolcini, of Hinckley Township, said he supports Sanders for his anti-war voting record.

“That’s government spending in the trillions,” he said. “He’s against death and destruction, which is our national export.”

Ian Haberman, of Sharon Township, said Clinton’s experience is one reason for his support.

“I think she is the most experienced, the most qualified candidate out there,” Haberman said.

Though the supporters split into different rooms to vote, Spoonamore promoted working on making sure Democrats win the presidency next November.

“Today is the very first step to keeping the White House in Democratic hands,” he said.

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