A campaign is just a job interview, Matt Lundy told likely voters in an Oct. 2 candidates night at the New Russia Township lodge — “You get reelected and you get to stay in public service,” he said.
The Avon Lake Democrat is eager to be “rehired” as a Lorain County commissioner after serving a four-year term.
On the other side of the room was his Republican opponent, John Ciarrone of Wellington, a public school speech-language pathologist.
Ciarrone told voters he was inspired by two factors to seek office. The first was the election of President Donald Trump, whom he called an underdog; the second was the passage of a county sales tax by commissioners, which he considers a “great injustice.”
Both circulated the room, sitting down with tables of 10 or so voters for informal talks on what they find to be important issues this fall.
About 150 people attended to hear what they and other candidates had to say.
Billed as “speed dating for politics,” they took 10-minute shifts, playing musical chairs around the room on the hunt for votes.
Among the politicos stumping were Craig Snodgrass (D) of Lorain and Mike Doran (L) of North Ridgeville, candidates for county auditor; common pleas judge candidates Jenifer Berki Merrill of LaGrange and John Miraldi of Elyria; Ohio 56th District representative candidates Joe Miller (D) of Amherst and Rob Weber (R) of Oberlin; and 13th District state senator candidates Sharon Sweda (D) of Amherst and Homer Taft (L) of Vermilion.
With small groups they made stances known on an array of issues — for example, Miraldi voiced opposition to Ohio’s Issue 1, a proposed constitutional amendment that would reduce many drug-related charges from felonies to misdemeanors.
Berki Merrill talked about diversity in the workplace, Miller praised efforts to create green energy jobs, and Weber took on the difficult issue of abortion.
The local candidate night was low-key with no heated partisan exchanges.
In that way, it didn’t mirror the all-out war going on nationally as the November midterms near.
Generally, midterm elections have much lower turnout than presidential elections, but the past two years have been anything but normal.
Deep partisan divisions over Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, the detention of Latin American children, restrictions on immigration of asylum-seekers, health care, worker pay, corporate regulations, brewing trade wars, massive tax cuts, and the daily grind of jarring headlines stemming from the White House — all those issues and more are expected to drive voters to the polls.
Polls are split on how Republicans and Democrats might move the balance of power.
This much is certain: Voter registration is up in Lorain County.
Since June 1, there are 6,873 newly registered voters here, board of elections director Paul Adams reported Friday.
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.