Four write-in candidates seek Ohio House seat

Ohio’s most unusual House race now has four candidates for the May 6 primary, all of them running as write-in candidates whose names will have to be scribbled on the ballot.
Tom Jackson
Feb 25, 2014


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.



I first met Bill Young about 15 years ago when my young sons attended a tennis class with a friend in Green Springs. Within 5 minutes, I could see that this was a truly caring, helpful individual. One of those rare people who simply wants to make a difference and help others, without any care as to what's in it for themselves. He changed both of my sons' lives that day, although I'm sure he doesn't know it.

I later found out he was a schoolteacher, which didn't surprise me. In the years since then, his name came up often, and you only heard good things, which is what you'd expect of someone who is friendly and genuine to everyone. I was so excited when Bill ran for office in 2012. Hopefully, he will get voted into office in 2014. He would be a major upgrade.


Young would definitely be an upgrade from Damschroder. Reineke owns, what, 5 car dealerships in the area? How's he going to balance his businesses AND find the time to represent us in Columbus? We'll have to find out more about Geyer, though. He may end up being quite the wild card.