Coffland Keeps Low Profile at Dems Meeting

BELMONT COUNTY – Belmont County Commissioner Matt Coffland made a low-key appearance at Monday night’s meeting of the county Democratic Central Committee.

Members did not discuss Coffland’s recent arrest for an alleged assault on a liquor control officer and disorderly conduct while attending Jamboree In The Hills, nor did they call for him to step down as commissioner or withdraw from his bid for re-election.

“I’m still the candidate,” Coffland said before leaving the meeting at Undo’s West in St. Clairsville.

County Democrat Party Chairman Gordie Longshaw agreed. He said as long as Coffland isn’t charged with a felony, he can continue to hold office as a commissioner.

“As chairman, my hands are tied,” Longshaw said.

County Democrats, meanwhile, spent much of the meeting discussing fundraising efforts for the upcoming election.

The Democrats picnic has been scheduled for 1-5 p.m. Sept. 9 at the Polish Club in Fairpoint, while the annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner is set for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 4 at Undo’s West. Democrats in attendance were encouraged to buy tickets for these events and to purchase ads in the program for the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner.

County Treasurer Andy Sutak, who also serves as treasurer for the county Democrat Party, told members the party had $11,646 in its account going in to the November election.

Attorney Todd Kildow an-nounced he will seek the Western Division Court judge’s seat in November, as incumbent Judge Harry White isn’t seeking re-election. He reminded Central Committee members if he is elected, he will have to step down as a member – a move that won’t be easy since a member of his family has sat on the committee since 1946. Kildow said he has been a member since 1996.

Also addressing county Democrats was Mark Hanni, Democrat nominee for 7th District Court of Appeals judge.

“The Democrats are trying to be like Republicans when it comes to money,” he said. “Money is not where you win an election. It is in the grassroots.”

Hanni said he will pay precinct committee members who will work door-to-door to make his campaign successful. He noted it’s a practice common in his native Mahoning County.

“Instead of posting our faces on television … why not pay the people who are doing the work?” he asked.

Longshaw said he recently spoke with Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who told him he needs to raise $250,000 a week to be competitive in his November bid for re-election.

A fundraiser for Brown has been set in Belmont County for 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 18 at the Spradling residence on Winding Hill Road in Bellaire. Those interested in attending should call Ed Good for more information at 740-312-8411.

County Democrats also will host a 51st birthday party for President Barack Obama at 6 p.m. Saturday at West Texas Roadhouse in St. Clairsville. Cake will be provided, but attendees must pay for their own dinner.