Brenda Mossbarger is expected to once again face off against Aaron Coole for the position of Fayette County Auditor — this time in a primary election.
Coole, the current auditor, and Mossbarger were both candidates for the job following the March 10 retirement of Mike Smith, a Republican. By law, the Fayette County Republican Central Committee was required to appoint a Republican candidate as the new auditor. According to the local central committee, Coole received more votes than Mossbarger at an April 13 meeting.
A civil suit was filed in the Fayette County Common Pleas Court April 19 by Jomi Ward. The original complaint was amended and Ward was joined by two other plaintiffs — Mike Smith and Fayette County Recorder Cathy Templin. In the lawsuit that was filed, the plaintiffs claimed the Republican central committee entered into executive session and voted by secret ballot, did not keep minutes of the meeting and unlawfully appointed Coole as auditor.
Rather than go to trial, the committee came to an agreement with the plaintiffs that was signed by Judge Steven Beathard Oct. 30. Coole agreed to resign “in order to settle the ongoing lawsuit” involving his appointment.
At the Nov. 9 Fayette County Republican Central Committee meeting, Coole won a roll call re-vote over Mossbarger by a 19-5 margin. Shortly thereafter, Coole was sworn in as Fayette County Auditor for the second time.
Mossbarger, a longtime employee of the auditor’s office who served under Mike Smith, has filed a petition to run in the May 8 primary election, according to the Fayette County Board of Elections. Boards of elections must certify the validity and sufficiency of partisan candidates’ petitions by Feb. 19. Declarations of candidacy must be filed by 4 p.m. Feb. 7.
The Fayette County Auditor race falls this year because Mike Smith’s unexpired term that Coole is now filling ends March 10, 2019.
In a statement to the Record-Herald, Mossbarger wrote of her intent to seek the office: “I am running for the position of Fayette County Auditor. I had 20-plus years experience in the Auditor’s Office. I worked in both the bookkeeping side and real estate side. I have the experience, knowledge, personality and management skills to run the county auditor’s office. I know I can run the office in an effective way for the citizens of Fayette County. I am looking forward to meeting and talking to all as my campaign begins.”
Coole told the Record-Herald Wednesday that he plans to file his petition with the Fayette County Board of Elections in the near future.
Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352 or on Twitter @rywica