In this November's election for three at-large seats on Kent City Council, current At-large Kent Councilman Scott Flynn, who filed as an independent, will no longer be on the ballot.
Independent candidate Doria Daniels, however, remains in the race.
In reactions to petitions challenging the candidacy of both individuals filed by Kent voter Fred Mendiola, the Portage County Board of Elections voted this morning to eliminate Flynn from the race, but reaffirmed Daniels' candidacy. Both votes were unanimous.
Mendiola, a member of the Portage County Democratic Party Central Committee in Kent, has argued Flynn "is and has been affiliated with the Democratic Party." Mendiola also said Daniels is affiliated with the Republican Party, "and for that reason also fails to qualify as truly 'independent' under Ohio Law."
While several aspects potentially aligning either candidate with a specific party were considered, the difference in the rulings approving Daniels' candidacy and terminating Flynn's ultimately came down to recent voting histories.
Craig Stephens, Portage County Board of Elections chair, noted Flynn voted in a May 2013 Democratic primary while circulating petitions prior to that in the same year as an independent.
"I find that very troublesome," he said.
Daniels, however, voted in Republican primaries in 2010 and 2012 and voted in a Democratic primary in 2008, but did not vote in the May 2013 primary.
"I concur this candidate is entitled to be on the ballot," said Stephens.
Flynn said he understands the board's ruling, but called it "unfortunate."
Daniels said she expected the ruling in her favor and was pleased with the validation, noting she deliberately didn't vote in the spring's primary to avoid aligning herself with a party.
Four candidates in total are running for three at-large seats on Kent Council this November: Daniels, Kent Planning Commission member Melissa Long and Council incumbents Mike DeLeone and Roger Sidoti. Daniels is the only independent candidate, and the other three are all Democrats. No Republicans filed for the race.
See the full story in tomorrow's Record-Courier.
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