Recently there has been a number of questions throughout the community on who’s behind a flyer and a mailer circulating through the community about Kevin W. Johnson, his record as a Portsmouth City Councilman and his personal life.
Johnson is running against current Scioto County Commissioner Mike Crabtree in the upcoming election.
The flyer in question takes portions of stories from stories that appeared in the Daily Times about Johnson and some of the decisions and issues he wanted to get before the council. The mailer in question points out several things about Johnson including his late partner Paul Johnson.
The items in question have drawn a number of comments throughout the social media world.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Times, Crabtree denied the material came from him or his campaign. Crabtree said he would not condone the material because he’s not seen all of it.
“They (material in question) did not come from me or my campaign. I’ve seen a few emails flying my way, urging me to denounce something I’ve not seen,” Crabtree said sitting in his courthouse office Tuesday morning.
One of the avenues people have been using to vent their frustrations to Crabtree is the Mike Crabtree for County Commissioner Facebook page.
On Oct. 15, one person asked Crabtree to denounce the material. His response to the request was, “My campaign has not sent out any literature to date. We had nothing to do with the mailer. I only heard of it yesterday evening. It is unfortunate that you are labeling me or my supporters in this way.”
On Tuesday, the Kevin W. Johnson for Commissioner Campaign filed a letter with the Scioto County Board of Elections against Crabtree stating,”The Crabtree re-election campaign is engage(d) in a ‘hit and run’ strategy of distributing various materials without attribution; that is, without any ‘Paid for by’ information.”
Johnson said in the complaint by his estimation the mailer could have cost around $4,000.
“Given the cost of the item and mailing, it is inconceivable that any individual separate from the campaign initiated this mailing,” Johnson stated.
Johnson goes on to say one of the flyers states, his late partner died of AIDS. According to Johnson, his partner died of bone cancer.
“And the fact that this flyer unequivocally claims that my late partner, Paul E. Johnson died of AIDS is a form of hate-speech; intended to cause fear,” Johnson stated in his letter to the Scioto County Board of Elections.
Crabtree said his campaign would not be capable of financing such a mailing because he’s trying to gather enough money to fund a mailer of his own.
“I’ve got friends and he’s got friends and sometimes your friends of someone else does things for their own motivation and sometimes they jump on the bandwagon. The only thing I can tell you, it’s been all I can do to raise money and put enough of my own money to get a few radio ads and I’ve got some flyers I’m going to try to send out. I doubt I can send them all out because I don’t have the money for that, none of my flyers have anything like that on them,” Crabtree said.
When asked about his response to the letter filed with the Scioto County Board of Elections Crabtree said, “It looks to me that he stepped on someone’s toes and they are getting even with him.”
In his letter, Johnson stated,”I contend that the Crabtree campaign is engaging in campaign activities, which violate ORC 3517.20 (Political communications; identification of source). I contend that this tactic, along with utilizing county employees to distribute his signs, confuses and infuriates a great number of the voting public and engenders a caustic and untenable political environment.”
At the conclusion of his letter, Johnson urges the Scioto County Board of Elections to take,” Appropriate action against a campaign that evidently seeks to eschew civility, ethics, Christian ethos and the law.”
When asked about the letter Julia Gearheart, director of the Scioto County Board of Elections, said she would take it to her board but it’s likely they would not be able to do anything about it. She said this matter is typically handled by the state ethics commission.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101 ext. 1933 or @WayneAllenPDT on Twitter