LORAIN — The 2nd Ward seat on City Council will be a contested race in November after all with the Lorain County Board of Elections rejecting a protest Monday that would have removed a write-in candidate.
At the meeting, attorney Gerald Phillips, who represents City Councilman Dennis Flores, said he wasn’t surprised by the four-member board’s unanimous vote and that the incumbent candidate Flores would be moving forward.
“(Flores) could file a writ of prohibition with the Ohio Supreme Court,” Phillips said. “But the practical and more cost-effective thing to do would be to just campaign for the November election, and I think that’s what he’s going to do.”
The protest, which was filed Sept. 1 by Flores, said Kyriece Brooks, who registered as a write-in candidate late last month, was unable to run for the seat because he had previously tried to run in the primary election as a Democrat.
Phillips said Brooks qualifies as a “sore loser” under Ohio election standards as he was trying to run for the same seat in the same election after having been disqualified from consideration.
In the spring, Brooks filed to run against Flores in the Democratic primary but was short on petition signatures and also neglected to sign his name on one of the pages, in addition to failing to note what city he was running in on one of the pages.
Flores said he was disappointed by the board’s decision but also wasn’t surprised.
“This guy forgot to sign his candidacy petition for which city he was running in,” Flores said. “Given this write-in’s voting history, I wonder if he’ll remember to vote.”
Brooks, whose name will not appear on the ballot but will be recognized as a valid name to write in for the race, said he had no official comment other than he was “ready to win.”
Board executive director Paul Adams said he thinks the two main factors that led to the decision were a legal opinion from Assistant County Prosecutor Gerald Innes saying there were no legal decisions definitely barring Brooks’ candidacy as well as a directive from the Ohio secretary of state’s office.
The directive stated: “A person who filed for candidacy on the primary ballot, but whose candidacy was not submitted to the voters, either because the person’s petitions were not certified or because the person withdrew as a candidate, can be a write-in candidate for the same office.”
Phillips said he disagreed with the board’s decision to recognize the directive from Secretary of State Jon Husted as legally binding, but he understands why they reached that decision.
“When it comes to access to the ballot or not having access to the ballot, they’re going to err on the side of access,” he said.