Barrett's seat remains empty;his name is still on the ballot

Local officials hope the state Democratic Party will fill the vacant 58th district statehouse seat within a week or two. The seat became empty late last month when former Rep. Matt Barrett resigned after it was discovered he was not truthful about how photos of naked women ended up on a computer he used during a Norwalk High School civics class PowerPoint presentation.
Scott Seitz
Jul 25, 2010

Local officials hope the state Democratic Party will fill the vacant 58th district statehouse seat within a week or two.

The seat became empty late last month when former Rep. Matt Barrett resigned after it was discovered he was not truthful about how photos of naked women ended up on a computer he used during a Norwalk High School civics class PowerPoint presentation.

Barrett and his wife Wendy originally told police his son — then 12 at the time — was responsible for the pictures. It was later learned the photos were constituents whom he knew.

It’s now up to the Ohio Democratic Caucus to fill Barrett’s vacant seat.

All kinds of names have been thrown around, including Norwalk city council members Chris Mushett and Dwight Tkach (an Independent), as well as Huron County Auditor Roland Tkach, Huron County Commissioner Mike Adelman and Norwalk Mayor Sue Lesch. All these individuals said they are not interested in the position.

Retired Huron County Juvenile and Probate Court Judge Thomas Heydinger has expressed interest, however.

John Elmlinger, Huron County Democratic party vice chairman and former county auditor, said today he did hear seven people had submitted résumés for the seat, including Heydinger.

“Honestly, Judge Heydinger is the only person from Huron County I’m aware of who submitted a résumé — I saw the rough draft,” Elmlinger said. “Remember, the Ohio Democratic Caucus will make the decision to fill the seat. At this point, the local party is not part of the process.”

A couple sources said today Carl Essex and Patrick Saunders might have submitted résumés as well. But Essex, who serves as administrative assistant for the county engineer, said there is “absolutely no way” he submitted one.

“There aren’t enough Mack trucks in Columbus to get me to go down there,” Essex said.

Saunders, a former commissioner candidate and the county’s party chairman from 1994 and 2001, could not be reached for comment.

“I don’t know about Pat or anything about who the other people are,” Elmlinger said.

Huron County board of elections officials said today Barrett has not removed his name from the November ballot. He must do that in writing, election officials said.

Barrett, or the person who replaces him on the ballot if he withdraws, will face Norwalk Republican Terry Boose in the November general election, with the winner representing all of Huron County and parts of Lorain and Seneca counties in the statehouse.