FREMONT — A protest was filed Tuesday with the Sandusky County Board of Elections to force Rhonda Damschroder off the May 6 ballot, and by extension prevent her husband from getting back on the November ballot.
The challenge, by Clyde resident John Brewer, 63, adds another wrinkle to an already complicated story that started when state Rep. Rex Damschroder (R., Fremont) withdrew from the May 6 primary election because he had omitted two required signatures from his petitions.
The challenge hearing is set for 3:30 p.m. March 5 at the county elections board office.
Mr. Damschroder’s plan is to have his wife run for the Republican primary as a write-in. If she wins, she would step aside and allow him to be appointed in her place on the Nov. 4 ballot by the GOP chairmen of Sandusky and Seneca counties, something Mr. Damschroder said he has no reason to believe they would not do.
Mr. Brewer, who says he is a retired journalist, claims in the challenge that Mrs. Damschroder’s declaration of candidacy as a write-in is a “fraud” because she has said she does not intend to hold the office that she is running for.
“She is falsifying information,” Mr. Brewer said. “She is declaring her intention to be a candidate in the election to be a representative for the 88th district.” He said Mr. Damschroder’s error in not signing two of his five petitions was an “inexcusable” one for a politician of his experience.
Mr. Damschroder declined to respond to the particulars of Mr. Brewer’s challenge. “I expect they’ll do whatever they can do to try to keep me off the ballot,” Mr. Damschroder said.
Mr. Brewer voted as a Democrat in the last two primary elections, but said he filed the protest on his own.
Elections Director Lisa Hartley said she did not have an opinion on the merits of the protest. “Everything has been sent to our legal experts. They will advise us,” she said.
Also seeking the GOP nomination as write-ins are Tiffin businessman Bill Reineke, Jr., and Ballville Township Trustee Richard Geyer. Retired teacher Bill Young of Green Springs filed as a write-in for the Democratic nomination.
Mr. Damschroder said attorneys for the Republican House caucus in Columbus told him he could not run as a write-in because he had already withdrawn from the ballot.