The reason why former Butler County Board of Elections member Kathy Wyenandt
resigned her board seat last month is so she can run for office.
Wyenandt told the Journal-News she will formally announce on Sunday afternoon at Grainworks Brewing Company that she will run against Ohio Rep. George Lang, R-West Chester Twp., who was appointed this past spring to the 52nd Ohio House District after Margy Conditt resigned.
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“I just feel really compelled (to run),” she said. “Everybody seems to be so focused on what happens in Washington, but what happens in Columbus has so much focus on our daily lives.”
Wyenandt resigned from the Butler County Board of Elections in December and from her position as Butler County Democratic Party Central Committee chair because of plans to pursue another opportunity. She declined at the time to talk about that opportunity further.
Lang is set to run his first Statehouse campaign this year, and he has history on his side. No Butler County Democrat has won a Statehouse seat since districts were formed in the mid-1960s.
But Wyenandt believes she can win.
“It’s going to take a lot of work, and I’m used to that. I’ve been involved in a lot of campaigns, and a lot of people are working with me,” she said. “My campaign team is bipartisan. I have folks on my team who are lifelong Republicans and people who are lifelong Democrats, and people who aren’t real political but are people who are really concerned about the betterment of our community.”
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Lang, who always had an opponent when running for township trustee, anticipated an opponent in November.
“I’m glad Kathy’s getting involved,” Lang said. “The discourse and debates are always healthy for the constituents of the 52nd District.”
Butler County Democratic Party Executive Chair Jocelyn Bucaro called Wyenandt “a strong leader.”
"Kathy has played a key role in ensuring our community has one of best school districts in the state," Bucaro said of the Lakota School District, the largest suburban district in Ohio. "Her voice in Columbus will bring the kind of change we need to focus on attracting good jobs and creating safe communities and the best schools for our children."
But the Butler County Republican Party is determined to retain the 52nd Ohio House District as a Republican seat.
“I am confident that the district will overwhelmingly elect the same common sense principles of conservative government that were the cornerstone of Rep. Conditt’s ideology and are continued by our new incumbent legislator, George Lang,” said Todd Hall, Butler County Republican Party Executive Chair.
Butler County is one of the most Republican in the state. Only one countywide office is held by a Democrat, Butler County Juvenile Court Judge (Kathleen Romans). There are a few dozen Democrats in non-partisan local offices, for which party affiliation is not on the ballot.
So how does Wyenandt plan to overcome that perception?
She believes people are open to thinking differently, which was supported in the 2016 presidential election which saw some Democrats supporting Donald Trump and some Republicans supporting Hillary Clinton.
“I think people are open to new ideas and new folks,” she said. “I plan to get out and talk to as many neighbors as I can in Fairfield Twp., West Chester Twp. and Liberty Twp. I plan to get out and come to them. Once you can overcome that, and build some relationships, people can begin to see beyond party lines.”
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