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Four write-in candidates seek Ohio House seat

Tom Jackson • Feb 25, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Only one candidate, William “Bill” Young, is running as a Democrat. There are three Republican candidates: Rhonda Damschroder, of Fremont; Richard Geyer, of Ballville Township; and Bill Reineke Jr., of Tiffin.

Filing for the race by write-in candidates ended at 4 p.m. Monday.

The flurry of activity was spurred by the discovery there were no candidates for Ohio House District 88, which includes Sandusky County and much of Seneca County.

The incumbent, state Rep. Rex Damschroder, R-Fremont, withdrew his candidacy after it was discovered he made a mistake when he filed for re-election. He signed the document seven times when he should have signed it eight times.

Damschroder was the only candidate who attempted to file during the regular filing period. He’d been expected to coast to re-election.

Rhonda Damschroder, a retired teacher, filed as a “placeholder” candidate Friday. If she wins the Republican primary, she plans to resign, allowing Republican party leaders in the two counties to name her husband as the candidate in her place.

She’ll have to defeat Geyer and Reineke in the Republican primary for that to become possible.

Geyer, 53, is a Ballville Township trustee. He said he teaches marketing in online classes for Liberty University, Bethel University and Indiana Wesleyan University.

“I want to abide by the Constitution and represent the people,” he said. “There’s no incumbent running right now. I don’t want to lose that seat”

Reineke, who could not be reached for comment Monday, is president of the Reineke family’s Tiffin Ford Lincoln dealership. The family also owns dealerships in Fostoria, Lima, Upper Sandusky and Findlay. In addition, Reineke is the Ohio director for the National Automobile Dealers Association.

Young, 62, of Green Springs, held a press conference Monday afternoon outside the election board office to dramatize his candidacy. Young also ran unsuccessfully for the Ohio House in 2010 and 2012.

“I’ve gotten so much support,” Young said, adding that, in the wake of Damschroder’s woes, moderate Republicans and local independents have joined Democrats in supporting him.

“I think it’s going to be a very interesting primary,” Young said.

The small group of supporters who huddled in the wind to show their support Monday included his wife, Shelly; his daughter, Darcy, and former state Rep. Dwight Wise, 83, who represented a similar district as a Democrat from 1983 to 1994.

“He’s an excellent candidate” Wise said.

Lisa Hartley, director of Sandusky County’s election board, said primary voters will have to fill in a blank line to write in the name of the person they support. They can obtain a list of write-in candidates when they are at the polls, but they have to ask for it, Hartley said.

It’s up to the election board to decide what to do if the voter misspells the candidate’s name, she said.

Thomas Younker, chairman of the election board, said he’s just studied a directive from the secretary of state’s office and said misspellings shouldn’t keep ballots from being counted, so long as the board can figure out who the voter wants.

“As long as we can determine who it is, we count it” Younker said.

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