The Lorain Morning Journal reports that an assistant prosecutor in Lorain County is interested in being appointed by the Democrats to the 58th Ohio House District seat left vacant by Matthew Barrett. Thomas Janik once ran unsuccessfully in a Democrat primary for Oberlin Municipal Court judge. Janik would be willing to run in November to retain the seat against opposition from Republican former Huron County Commissioner Terry Boose.
As an assistant prosecutor, Janik’s boss is Dennis Will, who is widely respected. I’ve met Janik in person before. When he was running for election, I happened to answer the door when he knocked at the home of my former in-laws. On that occasion, Janik clearly appeared to be uncomfortable, like a shrinking violet. His name recognition isn’t all that strong in Lorain County, let alone in Huron County (where half the voters of the district live). I wonder aloud if Janik is as conservative as the voters of the 58th District. Barrett definitely played up his conservative credentials when he ran in 2004 and 2006, yet Barrett wasn’t able to win that first time around. If Janik can’t come up with key endorsements by Ohio Right-to-Life and the NRA, forget it.
Janik would have the daunting task of trying to pull off the win while starting at zero and only having until November. On the flip side, the timetable isn’t as short as one might ordinarily think, given that today would have been primary election day in any non-Presidential election year. The fact that the primary was held in early March this year contributes to the mirage that a lot of time has elapsed. The Republican, Terry Boose, though, is much more widely known and more widely respected than Barrett’s opponent in 2006, so I think the climb really is steeper for Janik.
There are two upsides for a Janik candidacy: 1) Though a minority of 58th District voters live in Lorain County, Janik can tap into a vibrant Democrat fundraising machine that exists in Lorain County that can probably raise more money than what the Democrat Party in Huron County can raise. 2) If Janik loses in November, he’d likely still have employment he could return to with the Lorain County Prosecutor’s office.
Of the names mentioned so far, I still think retired former Huron County juvenile court judge Thomas Heydinger makes the most sense. He has Huron County name recognition; by virtue of his service in the judicial branch, he’s a blank slate on the issues so that he can define himself however he wants; he doesn’t have to vacate office to accept the state rep appointment; and if he loses in November, he can return to retirement in January without having to scurry to find employment.
Originally, it was reported that Norwalk Mayor Sue Lesch, Huron County Commissioner Mike Adelman, and Huron County Auditor Roland Tkach weren’t interested in the state rep job, but apparently, they’ve been persuaded to submit their resumes and be screened by a Democrat selection committee headed by State Rep. Ron Gerberry. Why they would be willing to vacate office for a state rep job that would be much more difficult to get elected to, I don’t know, for they wouldn’t be able to resume their former duties in January if they were to lose to Terry Boose in November, which I think is likely. I’ve already postulated that Dan Metelsky is a poor fit for the 58th District.