BOWLING GREEN — A complaint filed with the Ohio Elections Commission alleges that the chairman of the Wood County Republican Party violated a law requiring “paid for by” disclaimers in the party’s ads and mailings in support of Doris Herringshaw for the GOP nomination for county commissioner.
The complaint names party chairman Matthew Reger and cites four newspaper advertisements, one piece of mail, and the party’s Web site that allegedly should have had a disclaimer stating who paid for the ads.
Ms. Herringshaw, Kristi Kennelly, and Jim Matuszak are vying in the May 6 primary for the GOP nomination.
Ms. Herringshaw of Liberty Township was appointed in 2013 to replace Tim Brown after he was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives.
Ms. Kennelly of Perrysburg Township is an administrator at a private business college. Mr. Matuszak, an accountant, was elected in November to Perrysburg City Council.
The Ohio Elections Commission set a preliminary hearing for May 29.
Complainant Meagan Mueller of Perrysburg declined in an email exchange to divulge any information about herself.
However, she has the same address on Pin Oak Court as Ms. Kennelly, and Ms. Kennelly acknowledged that Ms. Mueller is her 20-year-old daughter.
Ms. Kennelly said Ms. Mueller is not active in her campaign and that she did not authorize her to file the complaint.
“She’s doing her own thing right now,” Ms. Kennelly said.
The complaint specifically criticizes the party for its endorsement of Ms. Herringshaw in the Republican primary.
“This should be considered as evidence of Chairman Reger’s motive and intent to cause harm to other candidates’ campaigns through these underhanded and illegal acts,” Ms. Mueller said in her affidavit, filed April 9.
Mr. Reger, who is the Bowling Green city prosecutor, acknowledged Monday that it was an error not to include the disclaimer on the newspaper ads and the Web site.
Mr. Reger said he thought he provided the disclaimers for the newspaper ads and said he would add it to the party’s Web site.
However, he said the advertising leaves no doubt as to who paid for the publication.
“The advertisements and the solicitation substantially complied with the law because the name, and the address, and the contact for the party are in there,” he said.
Mr. Reger said Ms. Herringshaw was endorsed for the 2014 election when the central committee appointed her in 2013 to the vacancy on the board of commissioners with the expectation that she would file and run to retain the seat.
Ms. Kennelly said she brought up the issue of missing disclaimers with Mr. Reger several years ago. Mr. Reger said he recalled no such conversations.