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Toledo lawyer Jeff Simpson accused his rival for the job of Republican Party chairman, Jon Stainbrook, yesterday of having people with criminal records among his candidates in the party's central committee election Tuesday.
Mr. Simpson also identified three candidates on Mr. Stainbrook's slate for central committee who no longer live at the addresses claimed when they filed for office.
Mr. Stainbrook fired back that he has no control over who runs for the central committee, and that Mr. Simpson's team also has candidates who've been on the bad side of the law.
The criticism highlights the intensity of the battle between factions in the Republican Party, with Mr. Stainbrook seeking to hold onto his seat as chairman and Mr. Simpson trying to remove him.
The election Tuesday is for the central committee, a body with one representative for each of the county's 397 precincts, which will meet in June to elect a chairman. In all, 484 people are running for GOP precinct seats.
In a news conference, Mr. Simpson named seven candidates running as allies of Mr. Stainbrook who he said had criminal convictions.
"We are doing this to inform the voters who is putting themselves out there in a leadership position," Mr. Simpson said.
Mr. Simpson provided reporters with the Lucas County Common Pleas Court case numbers that correlate with names of candidates on the ballot, but the connections could not be immediately verified.
Mr. Simpson has at least one convicted felon in his camp, Joanne Wack, who was convicted of theft in 1989 and a probation violation, then denied the conviction in a court hearing in 2008.
Wack, the former executive director of the party, has helped recruit people for the central committee races on Mr. Simpson's behalf, and is also running for the central committee.
Mr. Stainbrook said he is not responsible for doing background checks on people who run for central committee. "All they were doing was grandstanding," Mr. Stainbrook said of the Simpson news conference, also attended by Paul Hoag, Mr. Simpson's ally. "This is Simpson and Hoag trying to muddy the water."
Lucas County Elections Director Linda Howe said conviction of a felony is not a bar to getting elected to the central committee.
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