ELYRIA — The window to apply to fill the remaining four years of Elyria Municipal Court Judge Lisa Locke Graves’ term will close soon, and the Lorain County Republican Party hopes to have candidates picked before Election Day.
Last month, Locke Graves announced her plan to retire by the end of September. She has been appointed to serve as an Elyria Municipal Court judge until her successor is chosen.
Lorain County Republican Chairwoman Helen Hurst is working on finding that successor.
“We are now in the process of screening candidates, and we’re going to close the opportunity to apply as of Oct. 27,” Hurst said. “Then we will interview whatever candidates we have at that point. We’ll then send our recommendations to (Gov. John Kasich’s) office, which is protocol.”
Hurst said there hasn’t been a huge response of candidates for the seat. She said she has received six or seven inquiries and has three solid applications so far.
“I would expect that there are several more that might come in, in the mail,” Hurst said. “That’s why it’s important for us to get the deadline out there now, so nobody is left out.”
There are qualifications a person interested in replacing Locke Graves on the bench must meet.
One is the candidate must live within the jurisdiction of the court, which includes Elyria, North Ridgeville, Grafton, LaGrange, Elyria Township, Carlisle Township, Columbia Township, Grafton Township and LaGrange Township. The person also has to be licensed to practice law in the state of Ohio for at least seven years and must be in good standing with the Supreme Court.
Once the Oct. 27 deadline passes, the process will move into the interview stage, according to Hurst.
“There are three persons I will appoint to that committee,” Hurst said. “I am the fourth, but I am the administrator of that; I do not take a vote in it. I usually don’t give those names out until afterward, so that they don’t feel pressured by anybody.”
The committee will then choose three candidates and send those names to Kasich, who will then choose Locke Graves’ replacement.
“If we’re closing on the 27th, I would hope that the very next week I can assemble those that are interviewing,” Hurst said. “Somewhere right before Election Day, which is Nov. 7, we’ll have our recommendations. I’m hoping by Nov. 5.”
Locke Graves has said it usually takes Kasich between eight and 12 weeks to appoint a person to a vacant seat once he has the list of candidates.