‘Wife swap’ protest denied

“He ran out the door with his tail between his legs”
Tom Jackson
Mar 6, 2014


Rhonda Damschroder will be able to continue her quiet “placeholder” candidacy for state representative in the Ohio House District 88 race in Sandusky and Seneca counties.

Sandusky County’s election board voted 4-0 to deny a protest against her campaign after a hearing that lasted less than an hour before a crowd of about 40 in the election board office.

John Brewer, the retired Clyde newspaper editor who filed the protest against Rhonda Damschroder’s candidacy, said after the meeting that he plans to appeal the board’s decision. Brewer walked out early in the hearing and didn’t hear the board’s decision.

Rhonda Damschroder also did not attend the hearing, but her husband, state Rep. Rex Damschroder, R-Fremont, did show up and said the ruling vindicated his opinion that her candidacy was legal.

The unusual District 88 primary election on May 6 will feature four candidates — three Republicans and one Democrat — all of whom are write-ins.

Rep. Damschroder says if his wife wins the Republican primary, she will quit the race so Republican officials can appoint him to run instead.

The lawmaker, who had been expected to coast to an easy re-election, made a mistake in his paperwork and was forced to withdraw. After meeting with GOP lawyers in Columbus, he persuaded his wife to run in his place.

After the hearing began, the board went into executive session to meet with the assistant prosecutor, Norman Solze.

When the board emerged, Brewer was called as the first witness. He asked if Rhonda Damschroder was present and was told she wasn’t.

With that, Brewer declared, “If Mrs. Damschroder does not respect the 90,000 women, men, schoolchildren and infants who are residents in this district to appear and respond, then my presence here is moot”

He walked out, handing the paperwork for his protest to the board as he left. The board chairman, Thomas Younker, asked if he was dropping his protest and Brewer said he was not.

The board then called attorney Donald Brey, who presented Rhonda Damschroder’s case.

Brey said his client’s declaration of intent to be a candidate was perfectly truthful. It lists her correct name and address, and all of the other information is correct, he said.

Brey said Brewer also lacks standing to bring a protest. Under the law, only a Republican can file a protest, and election records show Brewer has voted three times as a Democrat in the last two years, Brey said.

Brewer contends he has left the Democratic Party and is an Independent.

Brey said Rhonda Damschroder wasn’t required to show up and that Brewer failed to exercise his right to subpoena her.

Brewer “ran away” rather than answer questions about the falsehoods in his protest, Brey contended.

“He ran out the door with his tail between his legs” Brey said.

The board consists of two Democrats, Younker and Sandra Wise, along with Republicans Chris Knight and Justin Smith.

All voted to deny the protest, although Wise expressed some sympathy for Brewer after Brey’s attacks.

“It’s easy to talk about somebody when they’re out of the room,” she said after the hearing.

Brewer said he’s considering his appeals options and should make a decision soon.



It's not right that a simple clerical error would keep someone off of a ballot. Whether you agree with Rex and his politics or not, something is wrong when a seasoned representative is denied being on the ballot due to a signature that was already on other parts of the petition.


I think it's time Mr. Damschroder step down from this position. This shows how dishonest politics really are. You can be a candidate with no intention of holding office if you win. I hope the damschroders are unseated and new ideas come to this district.


I dont have a problem with this, this is done all across the state.


"After Brewer departed, Brey called the Clyde resident’s protest frivolous and malicious in its personal attacks on the state representative and his wife.

He also called Brewer a coward for leaving the hearing and not submitting to a cross-examination on the five points in his complaint."
The above quote from the News Messenger, what a class act Damschroder has for a lawyer.

I certainly hope Mr. Brewer can continue with this appeal.


He should appeal and file a grievance on the lawyer. Also the State Elections Commission may have jurisdiction if election falsification occurred.


Mr. Brewer evidently doesn't have a case otherwise he would of stayed and presented his argument. Instead he ran like a coward with his tail between his legs. In my opinion he lost all his credibility when he did that.


You've obviously never been involved in a case that challenges the "Just Us" system. It was probably apparent when Ronda didn't show up that it was fixed predetermined outcome and to stay would be futile.

Steve P

As a lifetime Republican, Damschroder is an embarrassment and a prime example of a career politician.

Pterocarya frax...

Donald Brey is the attorney hired by the Damschroders. Hahaha...the infamous Donald Brey...author of one of my all time favorite political quotes.

Back in 2011 when Republicans were trying to punish public workers for being...well...public workers, We are Ohio ran a strong PR campaign against SB5. The Republicans countered with a pathetic effort they called "Build a Better Ohio". While that group was being beat terribly in the polls they were using a spokesman named Donald Brey, who in a fit of frustration was quoted as saying:

"Just because the constitution says something, that doesn't mean that it says something,"

And there you have the mindset of Republicans. They love their constitution...till it gets in their way.


Pterocarya, I think I love you! You are absolutely correct in your comment about Republicans and the Constitution.

They're also wishy-washy on other things. During the past couple of weeks, numerous talking heads on Fox have been heard calling Obama a dictator, King Obama, etc. Less than a week later, when things ramped up in Russia, the same clowns called him weak and tentative. During the past few days, most of the things they recommended he do w/regards to Ukraine were....wait for it...things he had already done.

Let's summarize: he's a dictator, but he's also weak. Only in an alternate reality like the Fox Bubble could both be true. I swear, you can't make this stuff up... whatta buncha buffoons...


Go get 'em, John Brewer. Rex needs to go. Our area has had decades of Damschroders. It's time for a new voice.


Agree Ptero frax. Any info on Gene's Damschroders's lawsuit?

John Harville

Fun watching. On the Damschroder lawsuit... a Port Clinton just lost his license two years. He repeatedly passed Gene as fit to fly. On another note - check the Blade which bothers to carry such stories - the trial(s) begin this month.