Recommendations for a Mahoning common pleas court seat could be ready as soon as today

By David Skolnick


Gov. John Kasich could have the recommendation as early as today of the Mahoning County Republican Party of up to three finalists to replace outgoing Judge James C. Evans of common pleas court.

And the governor could appoint a replacement-in-waiting before Judge Evans’ Sept. 1 retirement, said Mark Munroe, county Republican chairman.

“There’s some hope the governor’s appointment would be in August,” Munroe said. “Because of the shortened [election] calendar, the governor’s office made a commitment to expedite the process.”

A county GOP committee interviewed four applicants Wednesday for the job: Anthony M. D’Apolito of Poland, a county juvenile court magistrate; Robert J. Andrews, a county assistant prosecutor; Shirley J. Christian, an attorney with Harrington, Hoppe & Mitchell; and Wade T. Doerr, an attorney with the Akron firm of Niekamp, Weisensell, Mutersbaugh & Mastrantionio.

Kasich, a Republican, could have Judge Evans, a Democrat, replaced on an interim basis almost immediately after the judge’s Sept. 1 retirement as the county Republican Party will give the governor the names of finalists to consider more than a month and a half before the judge leaves.

The county Democratic and Republican parties have until Sept. 10 to select their candidates for the Nov. 4 ballot to serve the rest of Judge Evans’ term, which expires Dec. 31, 2016.

Party precinct committee members will decide who will be their candidates on the Nov. 4 ballot.

The county Republican Party likely will wait for Kasich to appoint before meeting to select its nominee, Munroe said.

“We can meet at any time, even before the judge’s resignation takes effect,” Munroe said.

County Democrats will meet in early August to select its nominee, said Chairman David Betras.

“We want to get it done as soon as possible,” he said.

D’Apolito, the son of Judge Lou D’Apolito of common pleas court, already has said he plans to seek the Democratic nomination for the seat.

The winner of the election would take office after the board of elections certifies the Nov. 4 ballot results.

Besides setting a firm date for those interested in getting the parties’ nominations, both parties also need to decide on the deadline for interested candidates to submit letters to be considered for the nominations.

Also, those wanting to run as independent candidates for Judge Evans’ seat have until Sept. 11 to file nominating petitions, said Joyce Kale-Pesta, board of elections director.

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