Unopposed races in the Portage County election

Jacob Runnels

With the Portage County primary elections on March 15, there are six Democratic candidates running unopposed for county positions.

The county positions Republicans aren’t running for include: coroner; engineer; sheriff; prosecutor; common pleas court judge and domestic relations court judge. All positions are four-year terms, except for both the common pleas and the domestic relations court judge positions, which are six-year terms.

Janet Esposito, chairman for the Portage County Republicans and the Portage County Treasurer, said there are multiple factors as to why incumbent Democratic candidates are left unopposed.

“It’s very different to get Republicans to run because of the stigma of being Republican,” she said. “They probably have real jobs… Who’s going to run for four years?”

While Esposito thinks there is a stigma against Republicans in Portage County, she also thinks the positions listed don’t pay much for the job.

David Doak is running for sheriff, Victor Vigluicci for prosecuting attorney, Paula Giulitto for domestic relations court judge, Laurie Pittman for common pleas court judge, Dean DePerro for coroner and Michael Marozzi for engineer.

Doak is running for his third term after he said his second term in 2012 was going to be his last, according to the Record-Courier.The Record-Courier also reported that Doak was convinced to run for another term after his father talked to him, as well as his goal to improve the county jail.

Vigluicci has been the prosecuting attorney since 1994. The prosecuting attorney is responsible for initiating legal proceedings for court cases involving felonies and operates in criminal, civil, appellate and victim/ witness assistance divisions, according to the prosecutor’s office website.

Giulitto has been the domestic relations court judge since 2011. A domestic relations court judge is responsible for settling familial disputes, such as divorces and custody cases, according to the domestic relations court judge website.

Pittman has been the common pleas court judge since being re-elected unopposed in 2010. The common pleas court judge is responsible for civil and criminal cases, as well as administrative cases like zoning and business disputes, according to the common pleas court judge’s website.

According to the Aurora Advocate, DePerro has been in his position since 2014, where he ran unopposed in that election. The coroner is responsible for pronouncing deaths and what kind of death it was. The Ohio State Coroners Association (OSCA)’s website states how to call the coroner’s office to report a death.

Marozzi is a member of the District 4 Legislative Committee for the County Engineers Association of Ohio (CEAO), according to the CEAO’s website. The engineer is responsible for maintaining the county’s highways and bridges, according to the engineer’s website. In 2014, the Akron-Beacon Journal reported there was a 289 percent increase for road salt prices under Marozzi’s recent term due to a reduced need for salt in 2013.

The Portage County Democrats could not be reached for comment.

The full list of candidates can be viewed on the Portage County Board of Elections website. 

Jacob Runnels is a city reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]