In the end, it wasn’t a hard decision for the 200-plus Democrats who assembled in a union hall in Evanston.
They unanimously on Wednesday chose attorney and former judicial candidate Pavan Parikh to succeed Cincinnati Mayor-elect Aftab Pureval as Hamilton County Clerk of Courts.
Parikh is well known in the courthouse, knows the legal system and can win re-election and keep the seat Democratic, Hamilton County Chairwoman Gwen McFarlin told the Democratic Central Committee. That’s why a nominating committee recommended him.
Parikh is also a judge advocate in the Army Reserve.
“He is serious about this position,” McFarlin said. “He is not using this position as a stepping stone for higher ground.”
The 200-plus members agreed and didn’t nominate anyone else for the position.
Four others had applied, including state Rep. Jessica Miranda and Wyoming Mayor Thaddeus Hoffmeister. The other two were not named.
Miranda in an email to the central committee earlier in the afternoon expressed disappointment the nominating committee didn’t recommend her, but said she would not ask people to vote for her instead of Parikh.
“As I said from the beginning of this process, we as a party need to appoint someone who can both do the job well and win the election to hold onto the seat,” Miranda wrote in the email. “My friend Pavan Parikh can do both. I will not ask you to vote for me instead of him.”
The Hamilton County Clerk of Court’s job pays $113,000 a year. Duties of the clerk of court’s office includes maintaining all the court records, overseeing courthouse security for municipal court and processing traffic tickets and passport applications.
Parikh will serve at least until the end of 2022 and is up for re-election in November 2022.
Whoever wins in November 2022 will fill out the remainder of Pureval’s term, which ends Jan. 5, 2025.
Pureval won election as Cincinnati mayor, beating city councilman and former mayor David Mann with 66% of the vote.
When a vacancy occurs in a countywide office, the officeholder’s political party can choose the person to fill the vacancy until an election can be held.
Parikh rallied the crowd after being sworn in.
“I look forward to getting to work at the courthouse starting probably tomorrow, I’ll be at the courthouse tomorrow, and I look forward to getting to go out in this election,” Parikh said. “We need to keep this seat. We need to make sure all of our judges get elected.”
After the vote, Hamilton County Republican Chairman Alex Triantafilou in a tweet vowed to field a competitive candidate for clerk of courts in 2022.
“Republicans will vigorously contest this seat in 2022,” Triantafilou tweeted. “Stay tuned.”
It looked earlier in the afternoon as if the decision for the next clerk of courts would have some legal complications.
Attorney Curt Hartman, a Republican, filed a lawsuit to bar 61 members of the Hamilton County Democratic Central Committee from voting on the appointment.
The members didn’t reside in the precincts they represented. The Hamilton County Democrats, through their attorney Tim Burke, agreed to not let them vote.
Burke said it has been common practice for decades to fill precincts where no one is running for central committee with other members.
Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas Judge Christian Jenkins issued a temporary restraining order saying only the members of the central committee who reside in the precincts they represent can vote on the clerk of courts appointment.
But that still left 287 members eligible to vote on the central committee.
“Election rules matter,” Hartman said. “Only those people qualified to vote should vote.”