In an unusual move, the Democratic Party leadership in at least three counties in Ohio’s Second Congressional District, has chosen to endorse a write-in candidate over the Democratic primary winner. The committees in Hamilton, Clermont and Brown counties are charging that the nominee, William R. Smith (D), a truck driver from Waverly, has not campaigned for the seat currently held by Republican Brad Wenstrup.
Democratic officials have chosen to endorse Janet Everhard. Everhard is a resident of New Richmond. She is a retired medical doctor, physician and surgeon. Everhard is active in a number of progressive causes, including Veterans Outreach efforts, Tri-State Kayakers, an organization of more than 2,000 women kayakers which she helped to found, and USA Works Community. The party says she has supported efforts to increase economic development and employment opportunities in Southern Ohio’s Appalachian region.
“We’ve watched Mr. Smith run several times and essentially do absolutely nothing,” Caleb Faux, Executive Director of the Hamilton County Democratic Party, told the Daily Times. “We don’t regard him as a viable representative of the Democratic Party, and moreover, he has made statements that suggest that his candidacy was designed basically to cause trouble for the Democratic party.”
Smith will face Wenstrup (R) in the general election. Wenstrup defeated Jim Lewis in the Republican primary. Smith defeated Russ Hurley and Ronny Harrison Richards in the Democratic primary on March 15, 2016. The general election will take place on Nov. 8, 2016
“He does not campaign. He won’t speak to the press. He doesn’t go talk to anybody,” Faux said. “I’ve seen him speak once in Columbus at an Ohio Democratic Party convention where he stood on the stage and apologized for wasting everybody’s time.”
The Second District is comprised of Adams, Brown, Clermont, Highland, and Pike counties, as well as parts of Hamilton, Ross, and Scioto counties.
Anyone wishing to vote for Everhard will have to write her name on their ballot.
“Since making a decision to get involved in this election as a write-in candidate, Everhard has been all over the Second Congressional District. She has impressed everyone she met and received the unanimous endorsement of the Hamilton County Democratic Party Executive Committee,” Tim Burke, Hamilton County Democratic Party Chair, said. “Everhard knows she’s got a tough hill to climb, but she is determined to make the effort and the Democratic Party welcomes that.”
Scioto County Democratic Party Chairman Randy Basham told the Times there has been no decision made locally.
“As of right now we’re not making any endorsement,” Basham said. “We’re going to discuss it at our next monthly meeting on the fourth Thursday of the month (Sept. 22).”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.