A similarity in names hurt two women in the race, the candidates said.
By STEPHEN SIFF
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
WARREN -- Mark J. Hassett, a lawyer from Chagrin Falls, narrowly won a three-way race for the Republican nomination for an open seat on the 11th District Court of Appeals.
Hassett received 44 percent of the votes cast across the five-county appellate court district. Colleen O'Toole of Concord won 40 percent, and Tracey O'Day of Ashtabula won 17 percent.
"It is a plurality and that is all that counts in a three-way race," Hassett said.
He said that his victory was aided by volunteers who urged others to vote in what is generally a race that attracts slight voter interest.
"People unsolicited came forward and their effort made the difference between winning and not winning," Hassett said.
He said he may also have been aided by the similarity in names between his two opponents.
"O'Day and O'Toole -- what are you going to do?" said O'Toole, who has run for judge in Cuyahoga County twice in the past.
"Mark is a good candidate and I wish him well and he ran a good race," she said.
Never ran before
This is the first bid for elective office from Hassett, who serves as a part-time magistrate and acting judge in Chardon Municipal Court.
In November, he will face off against Cynthia Rice, a Brookfield Democrat, for the appeals court seat being vacated by Robert A. Nader, a Democrat from Warren.
"Not being a career politician, I'm not sure when I will have to gear up for that race, but I have a little bit of time," Hassett said.
Also in November, there will be an unusual race between two sitting judges. Republican Judge Judith A. Christley of Andover will run against William M. O'Neill, a Democrat from South Russell, for the seat O'Neill now holds.
The 11th District Court of Appeals hears appeals from trial courts in Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake, Portage and Trumbull counties.