Holding a postcard that accused his opponent of lying about his education, George Sarantou disavowed any participation in what he called “mudslinging” in the race for Lucas County recorder.
Mr. Sarantou told the media Wednesday 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. Despite Mr. Sarantou’s assertions that neither he nor his campaign was involved, Mr. Copeland said he doesn’t believe that is the case. Within hours of the statement, Mr. Copeland obtained paperwork noting he passed the high school equivalency test July 12, 1976.
“I believe he brought that up. Nobody has ever said anything about my GED until now,” Mr. Copeland said.
Mr. Sarantou, 60, a private financial adviser, and Mr. Copeland, 67, 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.
Mr. Sarantou said he was disturbed by the mailing that included no return address, no political organization information, and no disclaimer.
“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,” he said.
“Secondly, I am appalled at what I believe to be an unfounded accusation against Phillip Copeland,” Mr. Sarantou added.
When first told of the incident, Mr. Copeland said he was surprised to hear about the postcard and Mr. Sarantou’s statement.
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.
Although admittedly annoyed by the incident, Mr. Copeland said he does not intend to change the way he is campaigning for the recorder’s office.
“I just think he’s been running a negative campaign. He’s been bringing a lot of stuff up,” Mr. Copeland said of his opponent, 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.”
Contact Erica Blake at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-213-2134.