TIFFIN, OH (TiffinOhio.net News) — State Rep. Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) issued a statement through his campaign office, distancing himself from controversial Fremont pastor Gary Click, who is at the center of a viral video showing him berating Reineke’s opponent, Melissa Ackison (R-Marysville).
Reineke and Ackison are both running in the Republican primary for the 26th district Ohio Senate seat, currently held by term-limited Sen. Dave Burke (R-Marysville).
“Bill has no involvement with alleged incident at the county fair. Mr. Click was not asked to attend the fair on behalf of our campaign and does not represent the campaign. Bill is focused on meeting the voters of the 26th Senate district and continuing his job as state Representative of the 88th House district,” the statement from Reineke’s campaign on Tuesday said.
Ackison told WTOL she has been having issues with Click for months and she wasn’t surprised when he approached her at the Union County Fair.
“He was campaigning for my opponent as you can see in that video. And I was behind the Republican booth and he turned around and he told me, ‘You’re not going to win.’ And I said to him, ‘What seat are you running for, Pastor Click?’ And he said, ‘You know what, you’re trash. You’re trash. That’s all you are,'” Ackison said. “And about that time, my husband picked up the camera because there’s a long history with this pastor and he just filmed the entire incident.”
Ackison says she is running on a “conservative Republican” platform and criticizes Reineke for “not being conservative enough.”
“He’s a moderate at best, and that’s me being kind,” Ackison said of Reineke.
Click, who, for a short time, supported Ackison’s campaign for U.S. Senate in 2018, appears to have “switched sides” in the 2020 Ohio Senate race. Click is now an avid supporter of Reineke’s candidacy for the 26th district seat, which represents all or part of Sandusky, Seneca, Wyandot, Crawford, Morrow, Marion, and Union counties, a district that Ackison refers to as “God’s country.”
Attempts to reach out to Click for comment were not successful.