TIFFIN, OH — The editor of a local publication that lends its support to Republican candidates is swinging back at accusations from the chairman of the Seneca County GOP.
Dale Depew, the editor of Seneca News Daily, who is a Republican himself, on Saturday clapped back at accusations from Seneca County GOP Chairman David Koehl that his publication publishes “nonsense” and that Depew has “many credibility issues and court cases against him.”
The feud became public on Wednesday, when Depew accused Koehl of “not acting in the best interests of the Republican Party.” The accusations came after Depew says Koehl allegedly orchestrated a petition challenge against a Republican candidate for First Ward Tiffin City Council member.
In response to being accused of wrongdoings and “erratic behavior,” Seneca County Republican Party Chairman David Koehl slammed Depew on Friday for publishing what he calls “nonsense,” and also said Depew has “many credibility issues and court cases against him.”
Depew released a new edition of Seneca News Daily on Saturday, which hit back at Koehl’s comments. “Dave Koehl is pretending that he didn’t orchestrate the petition challenge to the Republican First Ward candidate who is running unopposed for the seat that Jim Roberts currently holds,” Depew said.
Depew claims that Koehl was possibly hoping that Collin R. Paylor, a part-time employee of Koehl’s Paper & Ink business, would jump into the race. Koehl disputes those claims as nonsense.
Depew then issued what appears to be a potential legal threat to Koehl, saying that “if Koehl plans to keep up this charade to its final conclusion, he might have to testify under oath.”
A challenge was filed against Bridget Boyle’s candidacy for First Ward city council member. Boyle, a Republican, allegedly used state petition forms to gather signatures to run instead of the required city forms, according to Koehl.
Koehl said that there are specific city charters requiring that certain forms be used to collect petitions for city races, and Boyle did not follow that procedure. “The signatures are invalid,” Koehl said.
Koehl also accused Depew of having a “conflict of interest” when it comes to this story, saying Depew collected petition signatures on behalf of Boyle’s city council candidacy.
Collin R. Paylor, a Tiffin resident who unsuccessfully attempted to challenge Rachel Crooks in the Democratic primary for the 88th district Ohio House seat, is the individual who filed the challenge against Boyle’s candidacy.
Depew reported in his Seneca News Daily publication that Paylor is an employee of David Koehl’s Paper & Ink business, which Koehl confirmed. “Collin is a part-time employee of mine,” Koehl said. However, Koehl claims that Paylor submitted the challenge against Boyle’s candidacy “all on his own,” and that he had nothing to do with the action.
“He didn’t make this decision at my request, I didn’t know about it,” Koehl claimed. “He didn’t do it because I told him to do it, or not to do it, and it’s totally unrelated to my candidacy for County Treasurer.”
Dale Depew claims that Koehl directed Paylor to challenge Boyle’s candidacy because Koehl was upset that he wasn’t appointed by the local Republican Party to serve as County Treasurer. Koehl says that claim is “complete nonsense.”
“I’ve known Dale for years, he has a number of credibility issues and court cases against him,” Koehl said. “Paul Harrison is well-qualified [to be County Treasurer], and I have said that.”
Koehl defended his decision to abstain from voting at Wednesday’s Board of Elections meeting in regards to petitions. “As a [Board of Elections] member, it is my responsibility to protect the integrity of the election system. And as party chairman, I need to protect the integrity of the party and its candidates.”
Koehl, however, denies that he had anything to do with the challenge filed against Republican First Ward city council candidate Bridget Boyle’s candidacy.
Collin Paylor agreed with Koehl’s assessment that Depew’s accusations are “unfounded.”
“The reason why I filed my challenge is because my candidacy for state representative was canceled out because of improper paperwork. We can’t have people who don’t follow the rules, so I felt it was only the fair thing to do,” Paylor stated in regards to filing the challenge against Boyle’s candidacy for First Ward council member.
However, Paylor said that while David Koehl did not direct him to file the challenge against Boyle’s candidacy, Paylor did say that Koehl was the one who provided him with the information that the petitions in support of Boyle were invalid.
Koehl stated in a phone interview with a reporter that he is unsatisfied with the city of Tiffin’s “unique open primary system” for city elections. “Anyone can run against anyone in the primary election, so Democrats can run against Republicans in the primary and the top two candidates go onto the November ballot regardless of party,” Koehl said.
This is a developing story.