The Mahoning County Republican Party is recommending Gov. John Kasich, a fellow Republican, choose among three registered Democrats to replace retiring Judge James C. Evans on the common pleas court bench.
“Our No. 1 obligation is to forward to the governor the names of the three most qualified applicants for the vacancy,” said county GOP Chairman Mark Munroe. “We did that. Political considerations are a part of this, but not the overriding part. These were the three best candidates.”
Judge Evans is retiring effective Sept. 1. Kasich could appoint a replacement in August, before Judge Evans’ retirement date, to allow his successor to immediately take over, Munroe said.
“It would be helpful if your office expedited the screening process to allow political parties and candidates time to prepare for a November election,” Munroe wrote in a letter to Kasich’s office.
An eight-member screening committee met Wednesday with each of the four candidates seeking the appointment.
The three recommended by the committee are:
Anthony M. D’Apolito of Poland, a county juvenile court magistrate and son of Judge Lou D’Apolito of common pleas court.
Shirley Christian of New Springfield, an attorney with Harrington, Hoppe & Mitchell.
Robert J. Andrews of Boardman, a county assistant prosecutor.
The committee also interviewed Wade T. Doerr of New Middletown, an attorney with the Akron law firm of Niekamp, Weisensell, Mutersbaugh & Mastrantonio. Doerr wasn’t recommended.
The person selected by Kasich will serve until the Nov. 4 general election results are certified.
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.
Both party heads said they’ll have a replacement selected well before that though neither has a firm schedule in place yet.
D’Apolito plans to seek the Democratic nomination and has been busy meeting with precinct committee members, who will vote on who will represent the party on the Nov. 4 ballot.
“He’s called me a minimum of 15 times, and I’ve had three or four meetings with him,” county Democratic Party Chairman David Betras said of D’Apolito. “He’s the only one working it, meeting with committee members. Wade Doerr contacted me and came to one event and met some people. I never heard back from him.”
Though the three recommended candidates are registered Democrats, Christian has said that’s a mistake on the part of the county board of elections, and that she’s a Republican.
The board has her registered as a Democrat for voting in that party’s 2012 primary. Christian said she didn’t vote in the primary two months ago.
Christian voted in the 2004 and 2010 Republican primaries, according to data from the elections board.
Also, those wanting to run as independent candidates for Judge Evans’ seat have until Sept. 11 to file nominating petitions.