Anita Lopez, John Irish, and Ron Rothenbuhler - all experienced Lucas County Democratic politicos - learned a valuable lesson Tuesday that you might think would have already been learned:
Don't sign candidate petitions when you're a voting member of the county board of elections!
Irish (a former county Democratic chairman) and Rothenbuhler (the current chairman) signed Lopez's signature petitions to run for the Democratic nomination for auditor.
The board met Tuesday to certify petitions to the ballot, a process that is usually about 99 percent routine 4-0 votes - even with the fractious Lucas County elections board.
State ethics laws advise board members to abstain from voting on candidate petitions that they have signed.
The problem became that, with Irish and Rothenbuhler forced to abstain, that would leave only Republicans Jon Stainbrook and Tony DeGidio to approve the petition. A majority of the board (at least 3) must vote.
The board members and their staff, along with Lopez and her lawyer, Steve Hartman, spent most of Tuesday afternoon on cell phones and running back up up to the board's third-floor offices in conversation with the Secretary of State's office for a way out.
The solution was to set aside the two petitions that Irish and Rothenbuhler had signed and vote only on the remaining four petitions, which contained more than the mandatory minimum of 50 signatures.
Too bad for Rex Damschroder in Sandusky County that a similar solution didn't exist for him. He had problems with two of his five petitions and didn't have enough signatures without at least one of those petitions. He's off the ballot for re-election.
Despite her disastrous run for mayor last year, Lopez was looking ahead to an easy re-election. Her only certified opponent is Republican John Navarre, who stumbled into a firing offense just by running against Lopez. State law bars civil service employees of the auditor, which Navarre is, from running for partisan office.
Now Navarre is on leave from his job while his union and Lopez's human resources department investigate the situation.
If Navarre withdraws from the ballot, which seems unavoidable unless he wants to quit his job, the Lucas County Republican Party can appoint someone to replace him as the GOP nominee.