RI US House candidate accused of stalking in Troy stays in race despite charges

A Rhode Island congressional candidate says he’s staying in the race despite his recent arrest on a menacing charge in Miami County

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island congressional candidate said Thursday he’s staying in the race despite his recent arrest on a menacing charge in Ohio.

Michael Neary, 28, is among a large field of candidates seeking the Democratic nomination in Rhode Island’s 2nd congressional district following incumbent Democrat Jim Langevin’s announcement in January that he’s retiring.

Neary was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of menacing by stalking March 23, as well as drug counts after marijuana and drug paraphernalia were allegedly found in his car. He has pleaded not guilty.

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Neary said Thursday he’s hiring a lawyer and while these have been a difficult few weeks, he’s motivated to continue the campaign because of the stories he has heard from Rhode Island residents about the problems they face.

He said he's seeking medical and mental health treatment and was referred to a neurologist for a possible seizure-related condition.

Neary lives in Columbus, Ohio, but has said he plans to move back to Rhode Island, where he grew up.

Early on March 23, Miami County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Neary after a couple reported he had followed their vehicle from Columbus to Troy.

During the drive, the couple said they sped up, slowed down and even pulled off to highway, only for Neary to follow each time, according to Miami County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Chris Bobb.

Dispatchers directed the couple to drive past the sheriff’s office in Troy, near which police stopped Neary.

When deputies asked him why he was following the vehicle, Neary said he was stressed and feeling drained and decided to go for a drive, Bobb said. He also told deputies he thought he recognized the couple’s vehicle back in Columbus, and that he felt “drawn” to the registration on the back.

He also told police he was running for office in Rhode Island.

Rhode Island’s Providence-Journal reported that Neary was previously an aide to former Ohio Gov. John Kasich.