Gene Damschroder Sr. could no more stay away from politics than he could stay away from the airplanes that had been his life and love for 60 years.
During his 20 years in the Statehouse, representing what was then the 85th District centered around Fremont, the World War II Navy seaplane pilot made his name and amassed a hardcore political following with his proudly conservative, anti-tax stands.
The irrepressible Damschroder would resurface in 1990 for a run at the Sandusky County Commissioner's seat against John Battles. Damschroder was solidly against a proposed Sandusky County piggyback sales tax. Cutting spending was his answer.
It was what he called "government getting into private enterprise," namely the Sandusky County Airport in Green Creek Township, that spurred his decision in 1994 to seek a Statehouse seat again. But it was family ties that prompted his decision, a month later, to drop out; his son Rex was in the primary and two Damschroders on the ballot would be too confusing, Gene told the Register at the time.
Yet as recently as this year, the elder Damschroder was gearing up to run for the seat now held by Republican Jeff Wagner, who had beaten him in the 2002 GOP primary to replace Rex Damschroder. This time, the elder Damschroder said, he was going to spend what it took to beat Wagner in the primary and win the election. His issues included opposition to "megafarms" and the condition of the Seneca County Courthouse in Tiffin.