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Will Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz make an endorsement in the heated GOP state rep primary race?

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With the Republican primary for the 88th Ohio House district seat heating up, many have been wondering if Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz, a Republican, will make an endorsement in the primary race — or stay out of the potential mess it could bring him.

Gary Click, a pastor from Vickery, was endorsed by Attica Mayor Bryan Schock on Monday, dealing another blow to current Seneca County Commissioner Shayne Thomas, who is also a candidate in the state representative race.

Click was also recently endorsed by Bellevue Mayor Kevin Strecker, who previously endorsed Democratic candidate Rachel Crooks for the seat in 2018.

Crooks lost that bid to current 88th district State Representative Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin), who is term-limited and cannot run for re-election, so he’s now seeking a promotion to state senator.

While Reineke is locked up in his own heated primary race for the state senate seat, three candidates have announced their intentions to seek the Republican nomination for the 88th district Ohio House seat, which represents most of Seneca and Sandusky counties.

In addition to Gary Click and Shayne Thomas, Fremont-based environmental engineer Ed Ollom is running in the Republican primary.

On the Democratic side, Fremont city councilman Christopher Liebold has announced his candidacy for the seat.

Commissioner Shayne Thomas has riled up opponents of industrial wind turbine projects in Seneca County with his positions on the issue, potentially putting in jeopardy the political future of any other elected official who might otherwise decide to endorse him (e.g. Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz).

Click has declared he is staunchly opposed to industrial wind turbine projects. Click asked an audience in August 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.

The primary election will take place in March 2020.

Get to know a little more about each of the candidates running in the heated Republican primary:

Gary Click

Click

Residency: Vickery, Sandusky County, Ohio
Occupation: Pastor, community theater actor

Click is a former community theater actor and currently works as a pastor at Fremont Baptist Temple. Click, one of the first candidates for state office from our area without any private sector experience, currently serves on the Republican State Central Committee, representing the 26th Senate district.

Click has come under fire after a video surfaced showing him berating a female GOP candidate for the Ohio Senate, Melissa Ackison, calling her “trash,” a “phony,” and other insults.

Back when rumors were flying high about Click’s potential candidacy, Seneca County Republican Party chairwoman Vanessa Treft said in a voicemail that Click is only running for State Representative “for his own personal gain.”

“[Click] is only doing all this bullsh*t for his own personal gain, and I’m f*cking tired of it,” Treft said.

In addition, following statewide media reports of the video which showed Click berating Ackison, State Rep. Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) distanced himself from Click.

“Mr. Click was not asked to attend the fair on behalf of our campaign and does not represent the campaign,” the statement from Reineke’s office said.

Click is currently embroiled in a legal battle with Ackison over defamation, slander, and other accusations.

Click unsuccessfully ran for Sandusky County Commissioner in 2016, losing in a three-way Republican primary.

Ed Ollom

Ollom

Residency: Fremont, Sandusky County, Ohio
Occupation: Environmental Engineer

Ed Ollom is a 1991 graduate of Lakota High School. He graduated in 1996 from Terra State Community College and in 2003 and 2006 from the University of Findlay with a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in environmental science.

Ollom works as an environmental engineer at National Electric Carbon in Fostoria.

Ollom says he believes Gary Click is “not the chosen one” for this position, referencing Click’s suggestion that God chose him to run for the seat. He also criticized Click over the viral video which showed him berating Ackison.

“The way Gary Click has treated Melissa Ackison is shameful. I am not addressing the recent lawsuit, but the viral video of him berating her in front of her children. You can advocate for a candidate without attacking their opponent,” Ollom told the Fremont News-Messenger.

Ollom says he is a lifelong Republican.

Shayne Thomas

Thomas

Residency: Clinton Township, Seneca County, Ohio
Occupation: Businessman, Seneca County Commissioner

Shayne Thomas currently serves as president of the Seneca County Board of Commissioners. Thomas graduated from Seneca East High School in 1986, from the University of Toledo with a Bachelor’s Degree in 1990 and from the University of Wisconsin’s Graduate Banking School in 2004.

Thomas also studied graduate economics and finance at Bowling Green State University. Thomas spent time working for Fifth-Third, National City and First Bank of Ohio from 1990-1999. In 1999, Thomas was named the Vice President of Commercial Banking at Old Fort Bank.

In 2007, he left the bank to become the Vice President of Business Development at MGQ Inc., where he stayed until 2013. He also was a co-founder of MGQ Terminal from 2009-2015.

Thomas serves or has served on several county boards and committees including the Fostoria Chamber of Commerce Board of Trustees, the Fostoria Economic Development Corp. board, the Kiwanis Club of Tiffin Board of Trustees, the Leadership Seneca County board, the Ritz Theatre Board, the Sandusky Valley Center Mental Health Center Board, the Seneca County Regional Planning Economic Development Committee, the Tiffin Columbian High School Musical board and the Tiffin-Seneca United Way Board of Trustees.

Thomas’ wife Angela is a professor at Bowling Green State University. They have lived in Clinton Township for 26 years, raising two children.

“The community has been good to me and I want to be able to give back to the community,” Thomas said. “I think it’s going to be a good fit.”


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