Former Butler County lawmaker staying politically involved with new Patriot America group

Former State Rep. Candice Keller, R-Middletown, is pictured in the Ohio Statehouse in November 2020. FILE PHOTO
Former State Rep. Candice Keller, R-Middletown, is pictured in the Ohio Statehouse in November 2020. FILE PHOTO

Former Ohio Rep. Candice Keller has organized a conservative political group designed to get more involved in local and state politics.

Patriot America, Keller said, is “just a citizen-led movement” and has nothing to do with former President Donald Trump, who has reportedly considered forming a third political party.

“It’s happening all over the country,” said Keller, who represented the 53rd House District in Columbus from November 2016 to December 2020. “We’ve been asked to come to other counties and other states to present the same agenda.”

The Patriot America group, which met earlier this month, has a four-fold mission statement, according to Keller.

  • Learn more about the U.S. Constitution and Ohio laws “to protect our God-given freedoms”
  • Find candidates to run for office “who have the founders’ mindset for the rule of law”
  • Position a sheriff in each county who has an understanding and appreciation for the U.S. and Ohio constitutions
  • Maintain a citizen’s group in each county “that will drive these efforts forward”

The movement is “for those who want to make a difference in their local community,” she said.

Keller said she is not considering a bid for another political office for now.

“I’m very happy not serving right now,” she said. “I’m concentrating on Patriot America.”

Though this movement is not designed to split the Butler County Republican Party, it’s unknown if it will impact the political landscape the county. Butler County GOP Executive Chairman Todd Hall sees her effort as pitting “Republicans against each other,” and says the county Republican Party “is already filled with patriots.”

“We invite those to the table who feel frustrated with the direction of the country and want to voice their ideas, but as one of the most conservative local parties in the Midwest, I reject Keller’s divisive comments, schemes, and action,” he said.

Butler County voters supported Trump with more than 61 percent of the vote in 2020.

“Republicans are as unified in purpose and spirit as we have ever been,” said Hall. “We set the standard for conservatism in our state and our region.”

All partisan countywide officeholders are Republicans, and all but one countywide judge ― Juvenile Court Judge Kathleen Romans is a registered Democrat ― are GOP members.

Butler County Democratic Party Executive Chairman Brian Hester said townships, cities, villages and school boards need to have elected officials “who are interested in improving our communities and not their own self-promotion.”

“The last thing this county needs are more extremist partisans,” said Hester.

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