Hamilton County Democrats name new coroner

Dr. Lakshmi Kode Sammarco
Dr. Lakshmi Kode Sammarco

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The Hamilton County Democratic Party's Central Committee met Thursday night to appoint radiologist Dr. Lakshmi Kode Sammarco of Indian Hill as the new Hamilton County Coroner.

She takes the place of Dr. Anant Bhati, who died last weekend some days after being injured during a fall.

Dr. Sammarco, a U.C. College of Medicine graduate who interned in Cleveland, has worked in Middletown, Dayton, and Cleveland in recent years.  Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairman Tim Burke says it's his understanding she will work full time in the coroner's job.

Ohio law requires coroners to be physicians.  It also gives the political party that a county officeholder ran for the right to appoint a successor.  The Democrats appointed Dr. Bhati to replace Dr. O'Dell Owens when he left the Coroner's Office to become the president of Cincinnati State, and he was in the process of gearing up for his first run for election when he died, meaning she will have to start her campaign very quickly.

Dr. Pete Kambelos, the Republican-endorsed candidate for County Coroner, released the following statement:

"I welcome Dr. Sammarco into the race to be Hamilton County's next Coroner.  I offer my condolences to the Doctor as I read that she was personal friends with the previous Coroner, Dr. Bhati.

"I plan to be the next Hamilton County Coroner and welcome the opportunity to offer my vision for a Coroner's office that spends taxpayers' money wisely and cooperates fully with law enforcement to improve our community." 

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