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Half of candidates for judicial seat gone from race

| Friday, March 23, 2007

Half of the 12 candidates running to succeed Ernest Marraccini -- a former Elizabeth Township district judge who obstructed an FBI investigation -- have dropped out of the race or were thrown off the ballot because of filing problems.

Candidates George Hobaugh, Brian A. Merten, Darla J. Poorman and Robert W. Similo withdrew petitions, officials said. A judge removed Dennis M. Pohodich and Bonnie Martin Neander from ballots because challengers found errors in their petitions.

Six names will appear on Democratic ballots in May: Mary H. Levdansky, Patrick McDaniel, Dale T. Provins Sr., Beth Scagline-Mills, Michael Alan Shuey and Jace M. Younge. Each candidate, except Shuey, also will run as a Republican.

Other office-seekers were removed from ballots Thursday. Lawrence Bolind, a Findlay district judge hopeful, can't run because he lacked 100 legitimate petition signatures. A judge ruled William "Buz" Brown can't seek a South Fayette commissioner seat because, when he signed his petition to meet a 10-name requirement, he didn't note he and his son share a name and address.

"Why is anyone so afraid to just let the voters decide?" asked Brown, 54. "It's just a local election, for God's sake."

"The political process perpetuates itself. ... It makes it very difficult to make changes in the community," said Bolind, 57. "In some instances, the political connections of the incumbent candidates will be protected by the bringing of these objections."

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