From left, 51st Ohio House District candidates: Ohio Rep. Wes Retherford, Greg Jolivette and Sara Carruthers

Butler County’s state GOP committee members upset over Retherford endorsement process

The party put up the slate of 46 Ohio House members up for endorsement, which all were endorsed by one vote, and because Retherford was on that list, Patti Alderson and Gary Cates, the two 4th Ohio District GOP Central Committee members, voted “no.”

MORE ON WES RETHERFORD: Incumbent not endorsed by Butler County Republican Party, but he the state lawmakers get Ohio GOP endorsement

They also said they encouraged others around them to do the same because Retherford was not endorsed by the Butler County GOP last month. The county Republican Party instead voted to endorse Hamilton philanthropist Sara Carruthers over Retherford, but the three-term state lawmaker said he never did ask for the endorsement.

“I was upset he got endorsed, and I was disappointed,” Alderson said. “I know that wasn’t want the people in Butler County wanted, and I just felt like I let them down when I could affect change.”

This was the second consecutive election where the Butler County GOP did not endorse Retherford, instead supporting a primary challenger. He beat former state lawmaker Courtney Combs in 2016.

Cates said the list of candidates were submitted by the Ohio House Republican Caucus, which has a history of supporting incumbents regardless if they were supported by their home county party.

“The voice of our central and executive committees have really been ignored,” said Cates, who said he asked the caucus to not include Retherford’s name in the list of incumbents seeking election.

Cates said he doesn’t blame the Ohio Republican Party for the endorsement, but puts the blame on the Ohio House Republican Caucus.

“It’s about the Butler County Republican Party endorsement not meaning anything to the House caucus,” Cates said. “We’re disappointed about it. We brought it to their attention and we tried to get it fixed.”

Retherford exclusively told the Journal-News last month he’s made “drastic changes” in his life, and hasn’t had a drink since his March 12 arrest for drunken driving.

The winner of the Republican primary of the 51st Ohio House District will face Democrat Susan Vaughn, of Hamilton, in November. The 51st Ohio House District includes the cities of Hamilton and Fairfield, Ross Township, and portions of Fairfield, Hanover and St. Clair townships.

The Ohio Republican Party also endorsed Butler County’s other state lawmakers seeking election, Reps. Candice Keller, R-Middletown, and George Lang, R-West Chester Twp., as well as Warren County’s Ohio lawmakers, Reps. Paul Zeltwanger, R-Mason, and Scott Lipps, R-Franklin.

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