A candidate for Lucas County Recorder has disavowed any participation in a campaign tactic that he calls “mudslinging” against his opponent.
George Sarantou held a news event today in which he claimed he received a postcard accusing his opponent, Phil Copeland, of lying about receiving a GED. Mr. Sarantou, the Republican candidate, said his campaign was not responsible for the postcards.
“I do not know how many people received this post card but I want to take this opportunity to set the record straight,” Mr. Sarantou said. “First, the postcard did not come from anyone associated with my campaign for county recorder, that includes Lucas County Republican Party leadership who I immediately questioned about this postcard. Like me, they have no idea of the origin of this postcard.”
Mr. Sarantou then said that he believed the allegation against his opponent to be “unfounded.”
Mr. Sarantou, a private financial adviser, and Mr. Copeland, a Democratic labor union official, are running for the office now held by Recorder Jeanine Perry, a Democrat, who is not seeking re-election. Both candidates are at-large Toledo city councilmen currently barred by term limits from running for council again in 2013.
When reached by phone, Mr. Copeland was surprised to hear about the postcard and Mr. Sarantou’s statement. He said that in the years he has held public office, this campaign was the first in which his GED has been made an issue.
Mr. Copeland said that he did not initially have a piece of paper proving he passed the high school equivalency test more than 30 years ago but immediately set to work on obtaining one. Within hours, and with a bit of online searching, he obtained a record that showed he took the test in 1976 and passed. He added that despite his opponent’s statements to the contrary, Mr. Copeland believes that Mr. Sarantou or his campaign are behind the allegations.
“I just think he’s been running a negative campaign. He’s been bringing a lot of stuff up,” Mr. Copeland said, noting recent publicity about his attendance record at council related meetings. “It’s totally surprised me that he would go this far. He was the one who told me that he would run a civil campaign.”