Earlier today, Eric wrote about how State Senator Tim Grendell has now suddenly decided that he didn’t want to take the House seat he was just elected to, but instead stay for the remaining two years of his Senate terms, which he cannot run for re-election for due to term limits.
First, let’s cover the things the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that makes this story look even worse:
- Not only does Grendell now suddenly want to say in the Senate, he’s now campaigning to be elected into a leadership position.
- “Rep. Richard Hollington, a 78-year-old Republican who was viewed as a placeholder until Grendell was elected in November.” Hollington replaced Matt Dolan, who left the seat to have the honor of being the Republican to lose to the Democratic nominee of the Cuyahoga County Executive race. Grendell’s caracole of corruption is so bad, they can even get placeholders appointed in the Ohio House to avoid jeopardizing their plans.
But now, we’ve gotten even more of an explanation as to why this entire thing is really over Grendell being upset that his wife wasn’t getting the appointment. First, we should note that Grendell himself denies entirely that his wife has anything to do with it:
Grendell said his wife, a former House lawmaker, had not applied for the Senate seat.
"It would be between her and the leadership of the Senate or the House," he said. "The perception I won’t leave unless they make her senator is ridiculous and untrue."
Second, while it’s true that Judge Grendell had not yet applied, that doesn’t mean she couldn’t have been the reason. What Senator Grendell fails to mention is that she still had time to apply. After all this is what he told the Sun News before the election about his wife and his seat:
Asked whether he might recommend his wife to succeed him in the Senate, he told the paper, "Yes, but I only have until December of this year to convince her. And the Republican caucus would have to agree to appoint her. But, I think we would make a good team that would benefit Northeast Ohio."
Grendell is banking on that people would write it off on nothing more than why would his wife want to give up her seat in the Court of Appeals for a legislative gig again?
Well, here’s where we can add a missing piece of the puzzle. Scott Pullins pointed out to me that Judge Grendell’s term expires in four years (2014). However, after that, she cannot run for re-election.
In 1968, Ohio voters enacted that judges must retire at the age of seventy. Judge Grendell apparently (although I can’t independently confirm it) is getting close to that age out limit (there is a bill to raise the age, which has broad bipartisan support pending in the General Assembly.)
So doing what they’ve done over the past twenty years, Grendell takes advantage of this being the last possible cycle before his wife allegedly ages out of the bench for him to try this switcheroo they’ve done the last twenty years. He decides to take a premature break from the Senate, creating a Senate appointment his wife can take before she is forced into judicial retirement. He goes back to the House, and they can switch back and forth until they, or the voters, decide to retire themselves.
And it would have all worked, until someone in the Senate Republican caucus stood up to the Grendell’s caracole of corruption. The Plain Dealer said they had three Statehouse sources who all said that Grendell was trying to ge his wife the appointment, but that “her appointment to the Senate was looking unlikely.”
So Grendell naturally decided that this is exactly the circumstances to launch a bid for a leadership position in the State Senate.
Let’s hope the Republican Senate caucus shoots that down, too.