Dueling Republican sample ballots appear in Clermont County

An already combative and unusual primary race for the Clermont County Prosecutor's Office has taken a new turn with the appearance of a "Republican Complete Voting Guide," or sample ballot, that endorses many of the same candidates that can be found on the Clermont County Republican Party "Official Voting Guide," from the Republican Central Committee.

One of the differences between the two fliers is that the "Republican Complete Voting Guide" endorses current Clermont County Prosecutor Don White instead of the candidate endorsed by the Republicans this year, Vince Faris, which is something both Faris and the Republican website are pointing out.

"The most glaring [difference] is that the PAC sample contains a candidate other than the one endorsed by the Clermont County Republican Party," said Chairman Tim Rudd. "The PAC ballot has the name of the current incumbent prosecutor whereas the party endorsed Vince Faris for Prosecutor by a vote of 72 percent at our endorsement meeting."

That's not the only difference; the party's endorsements exclude Jean Schmidt for Congress, State Representative candidates John Becker and Nick Owens, and incumbent Republican commissioner Ed Humphrey, which can be found on the PAC's sample ballot. No endorsements were made by the Central Committee if candidates didn't meet a certain threshold when their members voted on endorsements. Faris' website says, accurately, that he is the only endorsed candidate not listed on the PAC's sample ballot. That ballot is not identical in layout to the "Republican Party Voting Guide," but has a similar look.

The "Complete Voting Guide" comes from a recently formed "Clermont County Republican Leadership" PAC. In FEC filings, the group lists a Post Office Box in Miami Township and Eric Ferry as treasurer. That's the same name as the elected Miami township Fiscal Officer; he hadn't returned a call as of this writing. It was formed on February 22, and on February 28 it reported for expenditures for printing jobs in support of Jean Schmidt and two in support of Ohio Treasurer and Republican U.S. Senate candidate John Mandel.

Prosecutor Don White said he hadn't hear of the independent PAC's flier until he got one in the mail this weekend. He says his non-endorsement came because Central Committee was upset he supported incumbent Republican Scot Croswell a couple years ago when he lost the party endorsement for County Commissioner to Charlie Wilson, who recently resigned from the commission in a prostitution scandal. Croswell argued the same thing in a letter to the Community Journal recently, saying White and Humphrey were denied endorsements because they didn't endorse Wilson the last time around.

White says the "Clermont County Republican Party Voting Guide" is itself deceptive since it comes from the Central Committee, not the Republican Party, which is making its decisions Tuesday at the ballot box. "Republicans should decide who to vote for on their own."

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