Ohio Secretary of the State Jon Husted ruled in favor Wednesday of Heidi R. Carroll’s candidacy for judge of Medina County Domestic Relations Court, which was contested in February.
In a letter to county Board of Elections Director Carol Lawler and Deputy Director Marian Coffey, Husted said Carroll meets the minimum statutory qualifications to be a judicial candidate on the May 8 Republican ballot.
Carroll will run unopposed in May and will square off in November against incumbent Mary Kovack, who’s running unopposed in the Democratic primary.
“Voters now have the right to choose,” Carroll said Wednesday. “I knew it was going to rule in my favor. I didn’t run arbitrarily. I had experts that vetted me before I ran — by attorneys and judges. I didn’t just say, ‘Oh, here, I’m going to run.’ I knew I was qualified.”
Three people — Mary Emhoff, Allen Lowery and Mary Guilfoyle — filed protests against Carroll’s candidacy, saying she didn’t meet the requirement per Section 2301.01 of the Ohio Revised Code of practicing law for six years.
“I believe Ms. Carroll was engaged in the practice of law during her employment at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation,” Husted wrote in his letter. “The four years and four months Ms. Carroll spent at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, coupled with her prior legal practice of 22 months amounts to a total of
74 months (six years, two months) of active engagement in the practice of law.”
In almost two hours of testimony at a Feb. 26 hearing at the board of elections concerning Carroll’s candidacy, Medina attorney Pat Walker, of Walker & Jocke Co., LPA, who represented the protesters, questioned whether some of Carroll’s experience qualified as being “engaged in law,” such as her time with the Cleveland Clinic as a corporate compliance specialist.
“They were focusing on my job descriptions,” Carroll said. “He really focused on the definition of the practice of law. Husted looked at the duties of my job, as outlined in testimony and affidavits from my employee, and that’s what counted.”
Following the Feb. 26 hearing, the elections board was split 2-2 along party lines on Carroll’s candidacy. It was left to Husted to break the tie.
Husted also is a candidate on the Republican primary ballot. He is running for lieutenant governor with gubernatorial candidate Mike DeWine, Ohio’s attorney general.
Carroll said she’s happy her name will be on the ballot.
“I’m excited,” the Liverpool Township resident said. “I want to move forward and start campaigning.”
In a news release, she called the protests “politically motivated.”
Carroll said in the release that if she’s elected, she will “keep politics out of the court, resolve cases in a timely manner, be fair to both men and women, and truly put children and families first.”
Kovack could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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