The applications are all in from those wanting to be Ohio County's next commissioner, as prospective candidates had until 5 p.m. Thursday to get their letters of interest to Ohio County Democratic Party Co-Chairman Robert J. "Rocky" Fitzsimmons.
Fitzsimmons was being treated for a broken arm and could not be reached for comment on the full list of applicants - however, state Sen. Orphy Klempa, D-Ohio, said this morning he was among those seeking the job.
"I hope my experience as a legislator, the levels of friendship and statewide influence I have developed will provide me the means and advantage to bring vast and special benefit to the citizens of Ohio County," Klempa said. "I deeply respect and honor these past six years you have afforded me the privilege to serve as your delegate and senator. ... My hope is to better serve Ohio County and my family by returning home."
The county's Democratic Executive Committee next will meet to select a candidate to fill the Democratic ballot spot for commissioner left vacant when David Sims withdrew from the race to take the job of Ohio County circuit judge. That meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Ohio County Democratic Party campaign headquarters, located at the Board of Trade Building at 12th and Chapline streets in Wheeling.
An employee at Fitzsimmons law office in Warwood said three applications arrived at the office on Thursday, but she wasn't certain how many Fitzsimmons already received. Fitzsimmons was being treated for a broken arm Thursday, and couldn't be reached for comment.
John Saunders, also co-chairman of the Ohio County Democratic Party, said he didn't know how many letters the party received, but that Fitzsimmons told him a number of them came in over the weekend.
Eligible candidates had to be Democrats living in Ohio County's 2nd Magisterial District. A commissioner's term in office is six years, and the job pays $36,960 annually.
The Democratic candidate selected to fill the commission spot will face Republican Patty Levenson on the Nov. 6 general election ballot.
In a related matter, Ohio County Commissioners Tim McCormick and Randy Wharton last week selected John Clarke, business manager for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 141, to serve as interim commissioner through December.
Sims was sworn in as judge on June 28.