• 50°

Malone gets party’s nod in commission race

Former two-term county commissioner Doug Malone will try to get his seat back on commission after getting his party’s nomination for the fall race.

Malone, who served on commission from 2003 to 2010, was chosen at a special meeting of the county’s Democratic Central Committee meeting Tuesday night.

“I really appreciate your confidence in me,” Malone said following a unanimous voice vote. “But we can’t do it unless we all pull together.”

He will meet Republican Freddie Hayes in the general election in November.

Both men are seeking the seat held by the late Paul Herrell, who died Feb. 17. Since Herrell was a Republican that party selected his replacement choosing Hayes last month.

However since Herrell, who was elected in 2010, had more than a year left on his term and the vacancy happened more than 56 days before the next election, the Democrats are also allowed to put up a candidate for that race.

Malone beat Herrell in 2002 as he was trying for his second consecutive term. Then Herrell defeated Malone in 2010.

Originally Ironton High School teacher Courtney Johnson had also been a possible candidate for the Democratic nomination. However at the start of Tuesday’s meeting, Johnson withdrew.

“How important it is that we come together as a party,” she said. “You will never know how much your gracious support has meant. However this isn’t the time for a run for me. But don’t worry there will be a time for me to ask for your support.”

After the meeting Johnson reiterated her reasons for pulling out.

“It is not a good time to run,” she said.

Johnson, an 11-year teaching veteran, was one of the public faces in the grass-roots fight that overturned Senate Bill 5, commonly called the anti-union law. She is also the sister of former commissioner Tanner Heaberlin.

Senate Bill 5 was high-profile legislation associated with Republican Gov. John Kasich and the governor’s name came up during much of the meeting as a rallying cry for the Democrats.

“The governor has attacked the middle class and that has leveled the playing field,” Malone told the central committee. “I think we can get it done. I love being a Democrat and I think we are going to win.”