Former Candidate Considering Another Bid For Commission Seat

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Randy Mace — who lost an election race last year as a Republican candidate for Athens County commissioner — confirmed Wednesday that he is considering running for commissioner in 2014, and said if he does so it will be as a Democrat.

Mace said he hasn’t made up his mind whether he will run again. In 2012, Mace lost an election bid for commissioner to Democrat Chris Chmiel. The commissioner seat held by Democrat Lenny Eliason is up for election next year.

Mace said if he runs, it will be in the Democratic primary because he believes that in last year’s election party-line voting occurred — people just went down the ballot and voted for all Democrats (rather than on the merits of the individual candidates).

“I’m about policies, not about parties,” Mace said.

Records in the Athens County Board of Elections office show that Mace has voted in Republican primaries three times since 2008, but between 1992 and 2006 he voted in eight Democratic primaries. Prior to that, he voted Democratic some years and Republican other years.

Eliason, who has been a commissioner since 1998, has said he will seek re-election in 2014.

“It bothers me when a political office becomes a career,” Mace said, adding that officials need to go back the private sector and live under the decisions they’ve made as a public official. “Political office isn’t suppose to be a career.”

Eliason said the notion that he is a career politician is “ludicrous.”

“I spent most of my career in the private sector. I am finishing my career in public service,” Eliason said.

Mace said he’s also concerned about the “apparent lack of serious consideration of citizen input” by the commissioners.

He said the commissioners, like city councils and township trustees, should be meeting at night so that more people can attend the meetings.

Eliason said that the commissioners have night meetings at times — the most recent being the Nov. 19 meeting about an injection well permit application — but that much of the commissioners’ weekly meetings are taken up by routine administrative duties.

“I think people would find it very boring,” Eliason said.

Mace has until Feb. 5 to make a decision whether to run. That is the candidacy filing deadline for the primary elections.