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Controversial Fremont pastor Gary Click officially enters State Rep. race: God ‘chose me’ to do this

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FREMONT, OH (TiffinOhio.net News) — A controversial pastor from Fremont who is involved in local politics officially launched his campaign to represent Sandusky and Seneca counties in the Ohio House of Representatives on Thursday.

Gary Click (R), a 53-year-old pastor at the Fremont Baptist Temple who is originally from Indiana, held his campaign announcement event Thursday evening at the Live Edge Center in Fremont.

Click said he feels God opened the door for him to run for public office. His campaign slogan will be “Hope for Ohio,” he said.

Guests who spoke prior to Click’s announcement included Vanessa Treft and Mike Gibbons of the Ohio Strong Action PAC.

“This decision to run for this seat wasn’t something I took lightly,” Click said. “My wife and I prayed about it, and said ‘okay we’re in.'”

The 88th state house district includes all or parts of Seneca and Sandusky counties. The seat is currently held by Rep. Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin), who is running for the Ohio Senate.

Despite working in Fremont, Click resides in Vickery.

Click says he is running on a “common sense conservative” platform of lower taxes, lower regulations, standing up for traditional values, etc.

While speaking in regards to wind turbines in Seneca County, Click asked audience members if they’d like to “be hit in the head” with a brick, in an attempt to demonstrate the dangers of wind turbine blades if they were to fail.

Click also shared personal stories as part of his campaign announcement.

“To be honest with you, when I was 16… I got drunk, my dad gave me pot, I smoked my first joint with my dad, and by the way I haven’t smoked many since just so you know,” Click said during his speech. “I think I inhaled, but I’m not sure.”

Click gained statewide attention about a week ago when he berated a fellow Republican who is running for the Ohio Senate, Melissa Ackison (R), at the Union County Fairgrounds — all on video.

“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.”

Current State Rep. Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) previously issued a statement distancing himself from Click.

“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 read.

The Seneca County Republican Party chairwoman was even caught on leaked voicemails saying that Click is “only doing this for his own personal gain.”

In addition, Click has “engaged in a campaign to vilify [Ackison] by uttering false, destructive, and defamatory statements about her” in meetings and conference calls with conservative leaders, Republican Party officials, faith coalitions, and other politically-aligned groups in the 26th district, according to a source.

Click, who also serves as a State Central Committeeman for the Ohio Republican Party and serves on Governor Mike DeWine’s Faith Advisory Council, is embarking on a “Stop Melissa Ackison” tour around the district, particularly in the Fremont area.

“Among other things, [Click] is trying to paint a picture that Melissa is an anti-Semitic terrorist sympathizer, which couldn’t be further from the truth,” a source familiar with the “Stop Melissa Ackison” tours told us.

“Gary has a very influential platform as a faith leader. He has prayed at President Trump’s events, conducts our invocations at Republican events and he pastors a church with people who are looking to him for Christian leadership,” the source continued.

“As a Christian myself, I find this kind of tar and feathering to be very disturbing. Melissa Ackison is a good person. She loves America, is a inspiration to many, including myself,” an area man said of Click’s recent controversies.

“I believe she makes some valid points. Perhaps you should search your heart and weigh whether your capable of balancing politics and your faith to Christ at the same time. Politics is a nasty business. Is it effecting your ministry or how you would usually behave? Please give it some thought. I respect both of you. Please find a way to heal this,” the man continued.

Seneca County Commissioner Shayne Thomas (R) is also rumored to be considering a run for the State House seat.

Click gained national attention in 2018 after he riled up defenders of the news media with his prayer before President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Delaware County.

“Tonight I pray that you will protect our president, and his family, with a shield of faith. Lord, that shield of faith against the fiery darts of the wicked one. Lord, against that jungle of journalism that distorts truth and distorts honesty and integrity every single day — gets in his face with lies and mistruths and innuendo,” Click said at the rally.

Click acknowledged in an interview that he agrees with some of Trump’s attacks on the media, particularly a “specific breed of predatory journalism that is uncivilized and has a preconceived story line before they write” — news organizations such as CNN.

“That was not an attack on all journalism. There are genuine journalists out there who do a fine job,” Click said. “I believe in a free press, I just don’t believe in a free pass. Who holds journalists accountable? Every one of of us need to be held accountable … I didn’t pray for God to strike (journalists) down, I did not seek violence.”

Will Click be a viable candidate?

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