By Cindi Andrews
Enquirer staff writer
Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen - already fighting sexual harassment allegations by an employee he had an affair with - now faces a fight at the ballot box, too.
Lawyer James Rueger, a fellow Republican, entered the prosecutor's race Tuesday by filing with the county Board of Elections as a write-in candidate. Rueger said he acted because no one else stepped forward to challenge Allen, who had been running unopposed for re-election in November.
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"Like it or not, that office sets the moral climate in the community," he said. "We need to have the respect of the office restored."
Assistant Prosecutor Rebecca Collins, 33, has sued Allen, 48, in U.S. District Court, alleging he coerced her into a 31/2-year extramarital affair. Allen says the affair was consensual and he does not intend to resign.
Rueger said he did not talk to Republican leaders before filing as a write-in. County GOP Chairman Mike Barrett has been silent about the Allen affair and what action - if any - the party will take. The party could endorse a write-in candidate, but it could not replace Allen on the ballot if he withdraws.
"I just felt that the community deserved an alternative," Rueger said.
Allen and Barrett did not return calls seeking comment Tuesday.
Barrett and local Republican elected leaders are to meet this afternoon to discuss Allen.
Rueger, 55, of Green Township, handles family law and other general civil and criminal cases.
He has never run for elected office, but his father, Melvin Rueger, is a former prosecutor and judge.
Rueger "is one of those big generational family names," County Democratic Chairman Tim Burke said.
Burke said again Tuesday that Democrats will have a write-in candidate by Monday's filing deadline.
Although Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken has decided against running, Councilman John Cranley is among several Democratic lawyers who are interested, Burke said. Cranley did not return calls Tuesday.
Democrat Eric Kearney, editor and publisher of the Cincinnati Herald, said he is also considering a run.
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