Ohio is justly known as a linchpin in deciding presidential elections. As it happens, the Buckeye State is where Providence City Solicitor Joseph M. Fernandez, and his wife, Emily Maranjian, a white-collar prosecutor in AG Patrick Lynch's office, spent Election Day, doing voter-protection work in Hamilton County.
Fernandez and Maranjian, who were Harvard Law School classmates with Barack Obama, were among the leaders of the Democrat's Rhode Island campaign.
Since arriving Saturday in Hamilton County, whose largest city is Cincinnati, the couple worked on GOTV efforts, and then shifted their focus on Election Day, Fernandez tells me. They wound up watching the election returns on TV at the home of his brother in Cincinnati, arriving after they learned, while traveling by car, that Ohio had been called for Obama. "We were pleased, but very tired," Fernandez says.
The couple returned to Rhode Island yesterday, connecting through Chicago, but without a chance to be part of the celebration at Grant Park.
Fernandez was vague when asked whether his wife and he are interested in joining Obama's administration. "We’re both very happy working as public servants for the foreseeable future," he says. But Fernandez also says he plans to rededicate himself to his Democratic bid for attorney general in 2010.
State Senator Paul V. Jabour, a possible rival in that race, is reportedly pursuing the vacant presidency of the state Senate. Yet Majority Leader Teresa Paiva Weed may yet pull it out, becoming the first woman to lead a chamber of the General Assembly.