The Salem Republican Central Committee will select a new candidate to run for President of Council since Rick Drummond announced he's withdrawing from the race.
"I am exploring my options. I have every intention of finding a candidate to fill that seat," Columbiana County Republican Party Chairman David Johnson said Thursday.
Drummond, who currently serves as the Third Ward councilman, had announced earlier this year that he planned to seek the Republican nomination for President of Salem City Council, but said Wednesday he planned to withdraw due to work obligations.
He made the announcement near the end of the city council meeting, saying he would continue to serve as a councilman. His term expires Dec. 31, 2015.
Columbiana County Board of Elections Director Adam Booth explained that Drummond was certified as the Republican candidate on Feb. 15 when all partisan candidates were certified for the general election to be held Nov. 5. No primary was held this week since there were no contested races. Only issues appeared on the ballot Tuesday, with a limited number of precincts open.
The fact that a candidate was certified to the general election ballot gives the Republican Central Committee the option of replacing that candidate in the case of a withdrawal. It wouldn't have mattered if the candidate withdrew in March or June, the party still gets to choose a replacement.
According to Booth, there's no rush for action to be taken since the deadline for the party to pick a replacement candidate isn't until August. A new candidate would have to be certified by Aug. 12, approximately 86 days before the general election. Drummond will have to submit a formal letter of withdrawal to the Board of Elections to get the ball rolling.
Booth said a similar scenario occurred in 2008 when Shar Daub filed to run as the Republican candidate for state representative and withdrew. The county Republican Central Committee met and selected Caroline Hergenrother as their new candidate.
Johnson said he's been talking to different people already because he was aware of Drummond's intentions. As a member of the Salem Republican Central Committee, Johnson will have a vote. He said President of Council is an important seat. He didn't have a date for when the committee will meet.
"At the right time, we'll move forward," he said.
At Large Councilman K. Bret Apple was certified as the Democrat candidate for Salem President of Council. His At Large seat will be up for grabs this fall. No other candidates have filed for President of Council, with current Council President Mickey Cope Weaver opting not to run for re-election. She was elected as a Republican.
Mary Ann Greier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org