Politics » Politics Feature

Mattila vs. Who in Special Election for Trustee?


Shelby County's Democrats made it official Saturday, as the party's executive committee, meeting at the IBEW Union Hall, nominated current interim Trustee Paul Mattila as the official Democratic candidate, The Trustee's position became vacant after the death in January of longtime Trustee Bob Patterson. The Shelby County Republicans will follow suit early this week when they choose their nominee from among several candidates -- Ray Butler, Derrick Bennetrt, and Jeff Jacobs. There is speculation, too, that the GOP's John Willingham will make a run as an independent.

Mattila's major test, if you can call it that, occurred last week during a meeting with the Democrats' candidate recruitment committee. Given that one -- count 'em, one -- Democrat, himself, was seeking the nomination, Mattila's success was assured. That didn't stop an inquisition of sorts from one or two dissenters, however. That was based mainly on Mattila’s statement, after being named interim Trustee by the county commission, that he intended keeping "the team" together that he had inherited from Republican Patterson.

Mattila, who refused to back down on the point, was able to convince most committee members that it would be folly to interrupt continuity in the conduct of the Trustee's office or to junk experienced employees merely because they had been appointed by a Republican. (Mattila himself had been an integral member of the team as governmental liaison.)

In the end, only one member of the examining committee, Tara Maxwell, voted not to endorse Mattila.

The GOP will make its decision at a formal convention on Tuesday after a preliminary meeting of the party's candidate recruitment committee to make a recommendation.

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