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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Ohio Sec'y Of State Jennifer Brunner: Tiebreaker On Ex-NAACP Chief's Run For Judge

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner must decide if a former Cincinnati NAACP branch president's campaign for a muny court judgeship gets off the ground. The Hamilton County Board of Elections is deadlocked 2-2 on partisan lines over a challenge to the candidacy of Norma J. Holt Davis, a Democrat whose nominating petitions have been questioned on a technicality. A petition form did not carry the street address of the person who circulated the document and collected signatures.

Brunner's spokesman, Jeff Ortega, said the secretary of state gets to break the stalemate under Ohio law. He said the dispute has not yet been referred to Columbus, but will be reviewed and acted upon rapidly once it reaches Brunner.

"If there is a tie vote, it goes to the secretary. This office will work as quickly as possible to make the decision. It's totally her call."

Holt Davis is an attorney who headed the NAACP chapter for two years earlier this decade. She has filed to run against Hamilton County Municipal Court Judge Bernie Bouchard, a Republican appointed by former Gov. Bob Taft. She says the challenge to her candidacy is groundless.

. . . the same circulator generated three of the petitions and fully complied with the statute on two of the three, and inadvertently left his address off of circulator's statement on a third petition. There is substantial compliance. Here as in other cases where substantial compliance was found, there is no fraud or deception and the public is not harmed or misled."

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