July 25, 2016

Partly cloudy

Brunswick Council races are uncontested

BRUNSWICK — There will be no contested municipal races in Brunswick this year after one of the candidates withdrew.

Ryan Kolegar, 19, a candidate for one of three at-large Council seats, asked for his name to be withdrawn in a letter to the Medina County Board of Elections.

Kolegar, 19, said he supports his opponent Alex Johnson in what would have been the city’s only contested race on the May 7 primary ballot.

“I feel that Alex Johnson was a wonderful candidate who is more than qualified for the position,” Kolegar said when reached by telephone Tuesday afternoon.

Kolegar, who serves as president of the Medina County Young Democrats, said it’s possible he may consider a run for office in the future.

Johnson, 34, who moved to Brunswick three years ago, served on the Parma Heights Council before moving to Brunswick.

Johnson joins At-large Council members Pat Hanek and Brian Ousley in running unopposed for the three at-large seats. Johnson will replace At-large Councilman Ron Falconi, who is running unopposed as Brunswick mayor.

The uncontested races have raised some questions from Council members.

Councilman Mike Abella, Ward 1, said the new rules for at-large elections that went into effect this year make it too easy for incumbents and challengers to choose their opponents.

Abella said the new system doesn’t prevent candidates from taking out petitions for all three Council seats and deciding in the moments before the filing deadline which race to file in.

Before the changes, six finalists were selected during the primary and the top three vote-earners in November won a seat on Council.

“Let’s talk about changing it back,” Abella said in February.

Council is working to create a committee to review the changes to the city’s charter that altered the at-large election process.

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.

Loren Genson About Loren Genson

Loren Genson was The Gazette's senior reporter. From August 2012 through September 2015, she covered Brunswick city and state and national government. To contact The Gazette, call the managing editor at (330) 721-4065.