Thursday, May 24, 2018
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Wife to run as primary stand-in for state Rep. Damschroder

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COLUMBUS — There may be a Damschroder on the general election ballot after all.

State Rep. Rex Damschroder (R., Fremont) is trying to prevent a paperwork error from forcing him out of the state House 88th District with an unusual move of having his wife, Rhonda, run as a write-in candidate for the Republican nomination in the May 6 primary election.

In turn, if she should win the nomination, she would withdraw from the race and he would replace her as the GOP candidate on the Nov. 4 general election ballot.

“She has offered to let me use her name as a write-in, acting as a placeholder,” Mr. Damschroder said. “It’s the only legal remedy we can find. ... I’m apologizing and humbly asking for voters’ support again. I screwed up, and I take credit for that.”

He said he has no reason to believe that the Republican parties of Sandusky and Seneca counties would not name him to a GOP ballot vacancy.

“Heck, I was running unopposed,” he said. “Everybody had a chance to run, and nobody was out there.”

Mr. Damschroder, 64, wants a third two-year term in his second go-round in the Ohio House. He was forced to withdraw from the race after learning that he failed to sign two of his five petitions to officially become a candidate.

The move also denied him the chance to run as a write-in candidate.

He and Mrs. Damschroder are expected to go to the Sandusky Board of Elections together today to declare her candidacy.

But Mrs. Damschroder, a former schoolteacher, may have write-in competition. Bill Reineke, Jr., president of Tiffin Ford Inc. and a partner in Reineke Family Dealerships, has announced he is exploring a write-in candidacy. He could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

Democrats also believe Mr. Damschroder’s error may have created an opening. Although no candidate filed petitions to run, Bill Young, a retired Green Springs government teacher who ran unsuccessfully against Mr. Damschroder in 2012, may run as a write-in candidate for the party’s nomination.

The nominee would be the write-in candidate who gets the most votes, as long as the total is at least 50. The 88th District includes all of Sandusky County and all but a southwestern sliver of Seneca.

Mr. Damschroder said he wants to be upfront with voters so that no one believes he’s pulling a bait-and-switch. He served eight years in the House before term limits forced him out. When his successor, current Seneca County Commissioner Jeff Wagner, also was forced out by term limits, Mr. Damschroder returned in 2011.

Contact Jim Provance at: or 614-221-0496.

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