A rather unusual race for a seat in the Ohio House of Representatives grew more crowded as the filing deadline passed.
With Rex Damschroder’s wife taking his place as a write-in candidate in the May 6 Republican primary election, two other Republicans and a Democrat have decided to jump into the race.
Damschroder, of Fremont, had filed petitions on Jan. 27 to run for a third term representing the 88th House district, which covers all of Sandusky County and most of Seneca County, but was forced to withdraw from the race after the Sandusky County Board of Elections discovered he hadn’t signed some of his petitions.
Saying he was emboldened by “tremendous” support from his constituents, Damschroder said his wife, Rhonda, would run as a write-in candidate in the primary election as a placeholder for him on the ballot.
If she were to win the nomination, she would then withdraw from the race which would allow party officials in the 88th district to put his name on the ballot for the November general election.
“At the time, it was encouraging to learn that no other candidate from either party had chosen to run for the seat – therefore making the race for my re-election unopposed,” he said in a prepared statement. “This was the first time in decades that the district faced no opposition candidates. Let me be clear, the filing error was my mistake and I take full responsibility for it.”
After researching state law, he realized the mistake not only voided his petitions he was also unable to run as a write-in candidate.
His only option was to have a qualified person run as a placeholder write-in candidate, he said.
His wife, a school teacher for more than 35 years, has been involved in his past campaigns, most recently as treasurer.
The Damschroders filed her petitions on Feb. 21 and William Reineke, a Tiffin businessman, had filed the day before to also be on the Republican primary ballot as a write-in candidate.
By Feb. 24 – the filing deadline for write-in candidates – two more men had entered the race: Richard A. Geyer, a Ballville Township trustee, filed for the Republican primary and William Young, Green Springs, filed for the Democratic primary.
Lisa Hartley, director of the Sandusky County Board of Elections, said there hasn’t before been a race of all write-in candidates.