Daniels and Evans are facing each other in the May 4 primary election for Ohio’s 17th District Senate seat.
The Ohio Elections Commission this week found probable cause that both Daniels, R-Greenfield, and Evans, R-Rio Grande, have issued false statements about each other during the course of the campaign leading up to the primary. Each candidate filed a complaint with the OEC last week.
Gallia County Republican Party Chair Kennison Saunders and Jackson County GOP Chair Jim Milliken on Wednesday sent a letter to Diane Carnes, Chair of the Southern Ohio GOP County Chairs Association, asking that she and the other chairs reprimand Daniels pursuant to the OEC’s finding. On April 21, Carnes sent a letter to Evans denouncing the content of a mailing that his campaign distributed which accused Daniels of “gambling with our families’ safety.”
In their letter to Carnes, Saunders and Milliken wrote, “Upon investigation, it is apparent that until this ill fated mailer by the Evans campaign, Clyde Evans did not even mention Mr. Daniels in any campaign messages. It was only after weeks of enduring bombardment by Daniels with the very claims which the (Ohio Elections) Commission has found probable cause, that Clyde Evans was forced to engage in such attack ads.
“We would now insist that the Southern Ohio GOP County Chairs publicly condemn the mailer which Mr. Daniels sent to the voters in our counties,” the letter continued. “That mailer was the basis of the three unanimous probable cause findings by the Elections Commission that false statements were made by the Daniels campaign with knowledge or reckless disregard for the truth.”
Carnes said she received the letter around 3:15 p.m. Wednesday when an unidentified man walked into her office in Chillicothe, handed her the letter and promptly left before she could speak with him.
“I was stunned by the letter,” Carnes said.
She said after reading the letter, she called Ohio GOP Vice Chair Kay Ayres and Athens County GOP Chair Pete Couladis to seek their input on the issue, but had not spoken with either of them prior to her conversation with the Tribune on Wednesday evening.
Couladis also serves as vice chair of the Southern Ohio GOP County Chairs Association.
Carnes said she was informed by the Daniels camp that the Ethics Commission will conduct a hearing regarding each candidate’s complaint on May 3.