GOP challenger Jon Stainbrook yesterday went to court to try to reinstate 21 people who were bounced off the party's central committee - most of them his allies in a rivalry for party control.
Mr. Stainbrook's complaint, filed by two attorneys on behalf of the 21 defendants, claims their right to be on the central committee was approved by the Lucas County Board of Elections and can't be taken away.
"In my opinion, it's not up to the court to decide somebody's constitutional right to vote. And to me, voting at a party meeting is their same right," Mr. Stainbrook said. "The board of elections certified them, and that's the entity that does it."
Retired Lucas County Common Pleas Judge J. Ronald Bowman ruled May 6 that the 21 people could not vote in the central committee because they didn't meet the state's legal test to be Republicans by voting a Republican ballot.
Eleven people had no record of ever voting, and 10 voted a Democratic ballot which, according to the ruling, legally makes them Democrats.
The motion filed yesterday was a request to the judge for reconsideration.
Mr. Stainbrook said the next step would be to appeal to the Ohio 6th District Court of Appeals.
Mr. Stainbrook said he was more concerned about the 11 who were unable to prove they voted than he was for the 10 who voted Democratic.
He said some of his recruits who voted Democratic did so because they had become disillusioned with the controversies over the central committee race.
Mr. Stainbrook is challenging GOP Chairman Bob Reichert. The central committee is to meet Saturday morning to elect a chairman for a new two-year term.
Mr. Stainbrook has 108 allies who won election to the central committee, leaving 121 who are either loyal to Mr. Reichert or whose preference for chairman is not known.
Mr. Reichert said it would be wrong for people who drew a Democratic ballot to want to be on the party's central committee. He said he requested resignations from two people not allied with Mr. Stainbrook because one lives outside the precinct in which he was elected and one voted Democratic.
"So we're playing by the rules. I would hope Mr. Stainbrook would play by the rules," Mr. Reichert said.
The complaint that got the 21 people barred from the committee was brought by Doug Haynam, who is chairman of the central committee.
In the appeal, Mr. Stainbrook's attorneys argued that the law cited by Judge Bowman applies to candidates being nominated, not elected, as was the case with the central committee.