GOP Ohio Senate candidate Melissa Ackison shared a photo on her campaign Facebook page Thursday containing the phone numbers of several Ohio Republican Party officials, prior to an expected vote on Friday where, sources tell TiffinOhio.net News, the state-level party could vote to endorse Ackison’s Republican primary opponent, State Rep. Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin).
“Storm the castle! This is a hostile takeover!,” Ackison said in the post on Thursday. “Swamp Politicians and Establishment actors from the Ohio GOP are trying to STEAL our primary election. Tomorrow morning, Jane Timken (Ohio GOP chairwoman), Dave Burke (Republican Senate Caucus), Gary Click and Lisa Cooper (State Central Committeemen) will vote to alter the rules on primary endorsements from the state party. This can’t happen. It’s corrupt and undemocratic.”
Reineke, who currently represents Sandusky and Seneca counties in the Ohio House, is locked up in what has been called the ugliest state legislative primary in Ohio history, running against Ackison, a small business owner and conservative activist from Marysville who previously ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 2018.
“Primary Elections are held so the voters of a party can unbiasedly select who they wan’t to represent their party in the General Election – NOT the party telling the voters who to elect. That’s why I need your help, give the following list of officials a call and tell them to respect our democratic process and NOT to issue an endorsement in the 26th State Senate race,” Ackison said in the post on Thursday.
According to a source with direct knowledge of the Ohio Republican Party’s primary endorsement process, the state-level party is expected to endorse Reineke’s primary campaign.
The 26th state senate district includes all or parts of Sandusky, Seneca, Marion, Morrow, Crawford, Wyandot, and Union counties.
“This is an attack on me, on you, on the fairness of our elections, and undermines the intelligence of the public in the 26th District! Call our officials NOW and tell them the people of the 26th District are smart enough to vote for themselves and urge them to leave this primary to voters – how it’s supposed to be,” Ackison continued in the post.
The endorsement for Reineke from the state-level GOP would come just days after the current 88th House district representative and car dealership tycoon announced that his campaign was endorsed by three statewide officeholders: Attorney General Dave Yost, Auditor Keith Faber, and Treasurer Robert Sprague.
Reineke has also been endorsed by the Seneca County Republican Party, in what was called an “unusually early move.”
The endorsements come as Reineke faces pressure to debate Ackison before the March primary election.