Saturday, October 30, 2004
Campaign watchers complain
By Sue Kiesewetter
HAMILTON - Complaints and allegations of campaign misdeeds are mounting in Butler County.
The Ohio Elections Commission has found probable cause that J. Michael Best, a Fairfield resident running for Butler County commissioner, might have violated the law by labeling himself "Republican" in his campaign material. No date has been set for a full hearing.
The complaint against Best was filed earlier this week by Fairfield resident Stacy A. Carpenter, who alleged Best wanted to mislead voters into believing he is either the nominee of the Republican Party or endorsed by the party. Best is running as an independent in a three-way race for commissioner.
"I'm an elected official of the Butler County Republican Party. I was elected to the Central Committee in March,'' Best said Friday. "I've never claimed to be Republican-endorsed."
Friday, Best mailed his own complaint to the Ohio Elections Commission against Butler County Commissioner Michael Fox, whom Best is challenging. Best said the term "Republican endorsed" used in a Fox newspaper ad could mislead voters into thinking he is endorsed by the Butler County Republican Party.
"He may be (endorsed) by the state (party) but he certainly is not by the county,'' Best said.
Fox called Best's complaint frivolous: "This is just another one of his attempts to mislead voters."
"It is the party's policy to endorse all candidates who won in the primary for the general election," said Bob Bennett, Ohio Republican Party chairman.
Ross Schools Superintendent Todd Yohey on Friday filed a complaint with the U.S. Postal Service about fliers put in mailboxes in Ross and Morgan townships.
The fliers, he said, provide inaccurate information about spending in the Ross Schools and the one-half percent income tax voters will decide Tuesday.
Finally, in an Oct. 15 letter, Butler County election officials ordered the Butler County Mental Health Board to stop sending campaign literature that included absentee ballot applications and voter registration cards.
The absentee ballot is invalid because it does not include the election date, as required by law, said Betty McGary, deputy director of the elections board. There was also a problem with the voter registration cards.
Enquirer reporter Janice Morse contributed to this report.
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