Wife will run as ‘placeholder’

Filing error forces Ohio representative to find other way keep House seat
Tom Jackson
Feb 21, 2014


State Rep. Rex Damschroder, R-Fremont, says he’s found a way to keep his political career alive: Getting his wife to run for his Ohio House seat.

Damschroder, who represents Sandusky County and most of Seneca County as the House District 88 lawmaker, made a mistake when he filed his declaration of candidacy to seek another term. He signed the document only seven times instead of the required eight times.

As a result, he withdrew his candidacy and has been searching for a way to salvage his campaign. The search was hampered when his lawyers told him he couldn’t run, instead, as a write-in candidate.

On Thursday, he announced he found a way.

His wife, retired teacher Rhonda Damschroder, will file this afternoon, ahead of the Monday deadline, to run as a write-in candidate in the Republican Party primary.

If she wins, she plans to resign, allowing the Republican parties in Sandusky and Seneca counties to appoint her husband as the substitute candidate for the general election.

“I don’t want anybody to think that we’re trying to do anything illegal,” Damschroder said. “This is the only practical and legal way to accomplish our goal”

The chairmen of the Republican parties in the two counties are on board with the effort, he said.

Damschroder said when he spoke to his wife and asked her to run as a placeholder candidate, she asked, “I won’t have to do any speeches, will I?”

“I told her I’d take care of that” he said.

Although Damschroder’s scheme is complicated, it appears to be the only legal way for him to run at this point, said state Rep. Chris Redfern, D-Catawba Island, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party.

“We’re confident a Democrat will file as a write-in candidate as well,” Redfern said. That will allow voters in the district to choose between “electing a loophole, or someone who will represent their interests,” he said.

Damschroder said he takes responsibility for the error that has forced him to attempt his unusual method of winning re-election.

“The voters of Sandusky and Seneca County have given me the privilege of representing them. Today, I apologize for my error and humbly ask for your support once again to continue serving as your state representative” he said.



not my vote

Fibber Mcgee

How stupid, and he's working in Columbus, go figure.


I always assumed that Rex was a placeholder... NW Ohio is truly an annoying place, where people can get elected in perpetua simply because of their last name. The Lattas and Damschroders have been on the throne far too long. It's time for someone else - ANYONE else. Heck, I'd vote for a handful of broccoli, just to have the opportunity for someone who represents all the voters, rather than just conservatives. It's rather amusing that Rex 'primaried' himself...

The Big Dog's back

I agree.

Darwin's choice

Hey butthead, does marcy kaptur sound familiar? I mean, speaking of being on the throne for TOO LONG !!!!

John Harville

Except Marcy actually continues to ACCOMPLISH something positive.


I agree 100% with John H.

Marcy is an accomplished advocate for all the people on a national level. Damschroder is an accomplished advocate for conservatives on a county/local level. Absolutely no comparison.

Steve P

coasterfan & piddle agreeing, great example of two halfs not equaling a whole.

Darwin's choice

They do equal a whole, an a hole!

John Harville

Never pass up a chance to attack, huh?

Darwin's choice

And you're what.....?

John Harville

Darwin... "and you're what...?" I'm pointing out that regardless of topic, certain persons on here will use any opportunity to namecall (first sign they have no argument) and to engage in personal attacks because they know Jason will let them get away with it. Pointing out one is attacking is just that... pointing out one is attacking.

Peninsula Pundit

Hear! Hear!


Correct, John. When local conservatives don't have anything of substance to say, they usually resort to ad hominem attacks. In short, they get angry when you point out the flaws in their point of view, and since they have nothing of substance to say in return, they can do nothing except resort to name calling. Hehehe...


This spot is a placeholder for local conservatives who don't like Marcy, and who have a deep-seated anger that their party is unable to find a candidate who could possibly beat Marcy.

Darwin's choice

And, once again proving you're the bootlicking obamabot we all dislike.


John Harville

Coaster... it's a badge of honor to be disliked - and Darwin got in TWO disparaging remarks.


Talk about entitlements. Some of these politicians seem to think they are entitled to a seat.

Pterocarya frax...

“I don’t want anybody to think that we’re trying to do anything illegal,” Damschroder said.

Enough said.

John Harville

Filing to run in a Primary for seat that you state you won't run for in the general is not 'illegal'? By filing today, she's knowingly committed perjury and probably fraud - not that any media will report that.



Simple Enough II

Sad part is that he has been the lesser of two evils.

John Harville

Absolutely not so. Both Ben Nutter and Bill Young have so much more to offer - and neither has lived off his wife's union salary/pension and healthcare 40 years while complaining about unions the way Rex has. He was going to introduce a bill prohibiting double-dipping until he realized his wife would be doing just that if she subbed.


I agree. I know Bill Young personally, and he is a far far FAR better person that Damschroder. Damschroder is still in office because the majority of his rural constituency consists of conservatives in their 70's and 80's, who have been voting for Damschroders ever since damn Schroeder, Lucy and Charlie Brown have been around. Like Latta, you don't have to actually do anything to help the people - you can just ride on 40 years worth of coattails.


This spot is a placeholder for conservatives who have nothing of substance to say.

John Harville

Is it fraud to file when one has no intention of running - and openly says so. But if Bill Rieneke (wealthy car dealer from Tiffin) follows through with his stated intent to fun in the Republican write-in, Rhonda will be forced to campaign.
And then when voters in this RightToWork state find out she's UNION, it will be more interesting.
But February 28 still looms on the horizon.

John Harville

,,,and if an attorney says it's "okay" to sign a petition swearing one's desire to seek the office WHEN ONE'S ONLY DESIRE IS TO BE A PLACEHOLDER... isn't that suborning perjury?

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

While not having a horse in this race, I can't say I agree with the decision to do things as he/the party is. Having had a similar error in my attempt to run for city council (and being told I can't run as a write-in) I decided it would be best not to pursue it because of reasons that are illustrated here.

Inherent distrust of being an incumbent aside, for many this just seems to reinforce a shady/exploitative way of doing things which can cast a shadow on otherwise good intentions from that point forward.

Sometimes just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.

Fibber Mcgee

Don't forget what caused all these comments, he didn't know how to sign
his name 8 times, what a goof!


I was surprised to see that Rex's wife was a school teacher. How is it possible that a teacher would choose to marry a Republican politician, given the fact that they are the anti-education party, and for decades have cut funding to Education? Didn't she get the memo? Consider, for a moment, the mental gymnastics it must take to go to your classroom each morning, knowing that your husband and his party continually undercuts everything you and your fellow teachers attempt to do – that they think the solution to the problems of Education is to provide even less money. Wonder what she thought of Senate Bill 5?

Like many conservatives, she apparently doesn't notice that she advocates viewpoints that clearly are NOT in her own self-interest.

JudgeMeNot's picture

Guess it would be the same reason a man would want to marry another man.

John Harville


John Harville

No one can explain Rhonda.
Rex has ridden this pony hard more than 40 years.
While politically being opposed to unions, he has spent his entire marriage reaping the benefits of Rhonda's UNION-NEGOTIATED salary and cadillace health care benefits.
Considering BEFORE the 2010 election she retired and would have set up her healthcare IN JULY before the November election, it's logical to assume she kept Rex on her insurance on the outside chance Ben Nutter won the election.
Thus it's likely HER union-negotiated pension plan paid for his multiple bypass surgery after his election.
Rex has had failed businesses but always had Rhonda's sizeable salary and later pension from Fremont Schools to provide the consistent family income.
Now, she enjoys his state salary as well as her pension.
And let's remember, teachers who stood so much to lose still voted for Kasich. Go figure.

John Harville

Perhaps Rhonda is beguiled... how else does one explain her willingness possibly to put herself at risk of criminal charges for filing a false Declaration of Candidacy.
It IS FALSE because she states on the form she desires to run for the office which is FALSE by published statements. "WHOEVER COMMITS ELECTION FALSIFICATION IS GUILTY OF A FELONY OF THE FIFTH DEGREE"
She's been supporting him financially for 40 years...


Unfortunately in the 88th District many teachers are Republicans and blindly vote for their party, even though much legislation is detrimental to teachers and the children they teach every day.
The Damschroder family has greatly benefitted from union negotiated benefits because of her job as a teacher. So it is surprising that Rex is at the forefront of trying to bring the Right to Work movement to Ohio, which would curb the influence of unions. How can he go to tea party events bashing unions while he enjoys the benefits that his wife received because of union negotiators?


Mr. Redfern is talking out of both sides of his mouth, saying elect a loophole. Both parties are doing this as they are both running write in candidates.

John Harville

Running a write-in candidate is provided in ORC 3513.014. Perhaps Damschroder opened the door when he and Rhonda demonstrated - in the media - how dishonest they are willing to be.
Remember, these are the same Damschroders who never hand out Halloween treats - except in 2010 - when they gave children campaign literature.

John Harville

Damschroder is on Jerry Anderson's "Leading Edge" show 8:30 a.m. today, Sunday, if you can get WTOL 11.

John Harville

"Whoever commits election falsification is guilty of a felony of the fifth degree" - just below the line where Rhonda Damschroder signed the Declaration of Candidacy "I hereby declare that I desire to be a candidate for nomination to the office State Representative"

John Harville

Rhonda has competition...

From Tiffin Advertiser-Tribune... in case SR wants the story.

"February 22, 2014

The Advertiser-Tribune

Seneca County Board of Elections released the candidates and issues on the ballot for the primary election May 6.

Bill Reineke and Rhonda Damschroder have filed to be write-in candidates for the 88th House District, according to the Sandusky County Board of Elections."

Hopefully the Dems will have one.

After Wed Reineke may be ONLY Republican

Julie R.

Wouldn't this be similar to the election scam that the FEDS uncovered in corrupt Cuyahoga County when somebody, in exchange for $20K and then a cushy $67,000.00 a year job in the auditor's office, ran against Frank Russo in the auditor race and then dropped out when it was too late for the Republicans to find a new candidate?