The Ohio Republican Party and its chairwoman, Jane Timken, on Friday officially endorsed State Rep. Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) in his heated primary battle for the 26th district State Senate seat, snubbing his more conservative challenger, Melissa Ackison (R-Marysville).
“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!”
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.
“I deeply appreciate the support of Chairman Timken and leaders of the Ohio Republican Party for my State Senate campaign. I have been a conservative Republican my entire life and have consistently supported our shared values as a state representative,” Reineke said in a statement following the endorsement announcement.
“The Ohio Republican Party is one of the premier powerhouse organizations in the country, consistently electing conservatives all across our state. I’m grateful to the State Central Committee for their support and look forward to continue working with them now and in the future,” Reineke continued.
“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.
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.