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Published: Saturday, 10/6/2007

Campbell drops out of race in 5th District

Earl Campbell Earl Campbell

For Democrat Earl Campbell, the race for Ohio s 5th Congressional District seat is over almost before it began.

Dr. Campbell, 71, of Perrysburg removed himself from the race yesterday after he failed Thursday night to receive his party s endorsement in his home territory Wood County.

Mike Zickar, chairman of the Wood County Democratic Party, said the county s Democratic executive committee endorsed Robin Weirauch of Napoleon over Dr. Campbell by a vote of 49-29.

The race for the party s nomination began in earnest Sept. 28, the deadline to file candidacy petitions.

Dr. Campbell said that because he couldn t take the party s endorsement in his own county from Mrs. Weirauch, who twice has run for Congress in the 16-county, GOP-heavy 5th District, he decided to end his candidacy.

The problem is an endorsement means something, said Dr. Campbell, a retired professor at the University of Toledo Medical Center, the former Medical College of Ohio, who never had sought public office before. Robin has a campaign machine that s ready to go. What can I do about that?

It s hard to run as the John Q. Public candidate. I guess people these days are interested in candidates running as machines, not as citizens.

George F. Mays, a third Democrat who filed to run for the seat formerly held by the late U.S. Rep. Paul Gillmor (R., Tiffin), didn t receive any endorsement votes in Wood County. Mr. Mays, 51, who has never run for public office, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Ms. Weirauch said she enjoyed getting to know Dr. Campbell Thursday night and hearing his ideas at the Wood County Democrats meeting. But he made his decision [to withdraw from the race] and I respect that, she said.

Mr. Zickar, who didn t endorse a candidate Thursday night, said Dr. Campbell made a pragmatic decision to drop out of the race. He realized that the Wood County Democratic Party has the most [Democratic] voters in the entire district, and I think he realized Robin would most likely win, Mr. Zickar said.

Wood County has the district s largest population base, and has 92,983 registered voters. Of those voters, 13,309 are registered to vote in a Democratic primary, which for this race is scheduled for Nov. 6.

Terry Burton, deputy director for the Wood County Board of Elections, said Dr. Campbell would not be on Wood County s ballot, even though he filed by the Sept. 28 deadline.

The Democratic and Republican candidates who emerge from the primary will square off in a special run-off on Dec. 11.

Contact Joe Vardon at: jvardon@theblade.com or 419-410-5055.

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