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Letter: Ohio GOP chair ‘working against’ conservative women, Butler County candidates

Ohio Rep. Candice Keller, R-Middletown, is running for the Ohio Senate. PROVIDED
Ohio Rep. Candice Keller, R-Middletown, is running for the Ohio Senate. PROVIDED

Credit: Provided

Credit: Provided

A Warren County Republican party official claimed that Ohio’s GOP chairwoman is “working against” conservative women and attempted to pressure a local candidate to drop out of an Ohio Senate race in a letter sent this week.

In a letter dated Thursday and sent to Ohio GOP Chairwoman Jane Timken, Warren County’s GOP Central Committee chairwoman Lori Viars and 16 other self-described conservative Republican women said they are “disappointed once again” that Timken and the Ohio Republican Party are “working against yet another female conservative in a Republican primary.”

The letter indicates Timken is working against Ohio Rep. Candice Keller, R-Middletown, in her bid for the 4th Ohio Senate District seat. Keller is running against two candidates from West Chester Twp., Ohio Rep. George Lang and West Chester Twp. Trustee Lee Wong, for the GOP nomination in the March 17 Republican primary. The winner faces Democrat Kathy Wyenandt in the November general election.

 

The letter claims Timken has worked against multiple female conservatives “in order to help their less conservative male counterparts” and spent GOP donor money against conservative Republicans. It also states it’s “puzzling” Timken is allegedly working “to defeat conservative candidates who have been more supportive of President Trump than their opponents.”

Timken, a supporter of Donald Trump, was elected the Ohio GOP in 2017. She was re-elected in January 2019.

Timken’s last public statements against Keller came in August when she asked the Middletown Republican to resign following a Facebook post by Keller about the Dayton shootings.

Keller, in the post, laid blame in the El Paso, Texas and Dayton shootings — which happened on Aug. 3 and 4, respectively — on “drag queen advocates,” open borders, policies of former President Barack Obama and “snowflakes who can’t accept a duly elected president.”

READ MORE: Lawmaker asked to resign after Facebook post about Dayton shootings

Viars said in an interview that Timken had been working through a local attorney to get Wong to drop out of the 4th Ohio Senate District race. Ohio GOP spokesman Evan Machan said that was “unequivocally untrue.”

Wong told the Journal-News an area attorney did talk with him and tried to “intimidate me” to resign by citing survey results that allegedly showed the four-term trustee has no chance to win the Ohio Senate race.

Wong said based on the conversation with that attorney, he believed he was sent by the Lang campaign. Lang said he did not ask anyone to ask Wong to resign. He said his campaign’s first polling efforts started on Jan. 9.

“I’m just focused on my campaign,” Lang said.

Wong said there was “no chance in hell” he would drop out of the race.

Some believe Lang and Wong could split the West Chester Twp. vote, which would be a path for a Keller victory.

In response to the letter, Machan said Timken stands by her August 2019 call for Keller to resign.

“On the heels of a mass shooting that devastated Dayton, Candice Keller made divisive comments that demonstrated she is not fit to serve. Our stance is the same as it was when we previously called on her to resign. She should put Ohioans first and do the right thing — resign,” Machan said.

Keller said she won’t resign and is encouraged by the support of the 17 women who signed the letter.

“I’m appreciative that so many conservative leaders have come out in support of me,” she said.