TIFFIN — Ohio Senate candidate and current State Rep. Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) on Monday released a new video advertisement along with a website dedicated to attacking his conservative primary challenger, Melissa Ackison (R-Marysville).
Reineke’s campaign purchased a domain name, MelissaAckison.com, to host a website where they paint Ackison as a failed businesswoman, attacking her for fines and complaints her Marysville-based surveying company, Ackison Surveying LLC, has received over the years.
Reineke and Ackison are facing off in the March primary election for the Republican nomination to run for the 26th district Ohio Senate seat.
The 26th Senate district includes Sandusky, Seneca, Morrow, Marion, Union, Wyandot, and Crawford counties.
The website features a video which focuses on attacking Ackison’s record as a small business owner, as well as additional documents and images.
Read a transcript of the video ad below:
FEMALE NARRATOR: “Melissa Ackison wants to be our state senator, but let’s be honest… She’s completely unqualified.”
FEMALE NARRATOR: “Ackison is trying to fool us with her phony conservative credentials. But take a deeper look. She’s left a long paper trail of tax liens and unpaid bills.”
FEMALE NARRATOR: “There are numerous cases where Ackison and her business didn’t pay taxes, more than $31,000 total.”
VIDEO OF ACKISON: “To all my haters, keep on hatin’ because I’m stackin’ paper.”
FEMALE NARRATOR: “And Ackison has been sued for thousands of dollars in unpaid bills.”
VIDEO OF ACKISON: “Seriously haters, keep on hatin,’ I’m stackin’ checks.”
FEMALE NARRATOR: “Not only has Ackison refused to pay her taxes and bills, her business performed unlicensed work and illegally hired a convicted drug offender. Melissa Ackison broke multiple laws, laws meant to protect Ohioans.”
FEMALE NARRATOR: “And now she was found guilty by the State of Ohio for multiple campaign violations.”
FEMALE NARRATOR: “Melissa Ackison: Shameful. Deceitful. A phony and completely unqualified to be our state senator. See the truth for yourself at MelissaAckison.com.”
Ackison is a co-owner of Ackison Surveying, LLC, a Better Business Bureau-accredited company.
Reineke’s campaign said Ackison has a “disastrous industry record,” blasting her for being fined $4,000 by the Ohio State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Surveyors.
“A review of emails and minutes from the Ohio State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Surveyors reveals an extremely troubling record of illegal activity for Ackison’s company, with multiple violations of the Ohio Revised Code,” Reineke’s campaign manager, Caleb Stidham, said in a press release.
Reineke’s campaign pointed out that Ackison’s business license is currently on probation for two years as the company failed to pay the $4,000 fine, which stemmed from Ackison’s company “admitting to engaging in surveying without a proper license as required by law.”
Ackison admitted in a Facebook Live video shortly after Reineke’s press release was sent out that her company was indeed fined $4,000 and had its license suspended temporarily.
“Coincidentally, when I was running for federal senate, surprise surprise… Institutions of government started coming out of the woodwork, and my husband was pulled in for an investigation — an investigation that lasted for 9 months,” Ackison said in the video.
Ackison defended her decision to not pay the $4,000 fine on time, which resulted in the company’s license being suspended temporarily.
“Just so you know, we are not under any level of suspension. Were we temporarily while I was going down to the House and Senate fighting for legislative reforms? You’re dang right we were. I wasn’t going to just to pay somebody money from the government who already takes far more than they deserve anyway. They’ve always got their greasy, dirty, grubby hands out asking me for more money,” Ackison continued.
“We were fined $4,000 for an infraction that the Ohio Revised Code specifies no more than $500 is to be put in place,” Ackison said. “We absolutely said, fine us, you can suspend our license, you can do whatever you want, we won’t perform surveys, but what we will do is we will fight back.”
Reineke’s campaign also attacked Ackison for “hiring a convicted felon” to do work for her business.
“The Ackison Surveying company employed John Rutter, Jr. who has three past felony convictions involving drugs and weapons and was suspended by the Board from doing surveying work,” the press release from Reineke’s campaign states.
“Bill Reineke, Dollar Bill out-of-touch Reineke, you make fun of the fact that my husband and I support a second chance program. I have in the private sector, I was an executive in the private sector, always believed that we could work with non-violent offenders or even offenders that made a mistake as long as they weren’t violent, sexual crimes, to get folks up-and-running and back to work,” Ackison said. “Yes Bill, there are people who made mistakes, and yes Bill Reineke, there are people who have paid their debt to society who are now trying to do what they can to work.”
In addition, Reineke’s press release attacked Ackison over being fined for false advertising. According to Reineke’s campaign, Ackison was fined for false advertising “for promoting themselves as a licensed surveying company in compliance with all state and federal laws, when in fact their license was suspended at the time of such advertisements, which is illegal.”
Ackison says the fines against her business are the result of an “intrusive government” with regulations “on par with New York and California,” as well as “institutions of government” attempting to take her down.
“Unlike you, I wasn’t born as an heiress to an immense car dealership. I wasn’t born to be a tycoon. I came from the bottom and I had to work and claw my way up to the top despite the government breathing down the back of my neck every time I turn around to make a life for myself, to run my farm, to run my surveying company, to run our excavation company,” Ackison said. “You know what Bill Reineke, I still had time, as a private citizen, to go out and to activate myself and get legislative reforms for things that mean something to the people.”
“I know you’re scared, you’re scared to death. You’ve never had a candidate like me who’s coming up against you. You’ve never lost anything in your entire life, and you’ve been able to buy your way every place that you need to go, but it’s not going to happen for you this time,” Ackison said of Reineke. “You must have a tremendous amount of pressure having a middle class woman who lives on a farm, operates a small business, and is highly-respected in the conservative community breathing down the back of your neck right now.”
Reineke’s press release on Thursday came as he was endorsed by the Ohio Society of Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors this week.
“This attack is another example of Bill being out of touch with real world issues and the complete disconnect he has with this district who has spoken loud and clear that Melissa Ackison is their chosen conservative warrior,” Ackison said.
The 26th district Ohio Senate seat is currently held by Sen. Dave Burke (R-Marysville), who, along with the Ohio Republican Party, has endorsed Reineke for the seat.
Ackison has been endorsed by Ohio Value Voters, Wyandot County Sheriff Michael R. Hetzel, and the Bikers For Trump Ohio chapter.
Ackison, a Marysville small business owner and longtime conservative activist who ran in the 2018 Republican primary for U.S. Senate and came in third behind Jim Renacci and Mike Gibbons, describes herself on her Facebook profile as a “Liberty loving, gun toting, Bible carrying, 80/90’s hip hop enthusiast & habitual line stepper.”
The primary election will take place March 17.
Attempts to reach Reineke’s campaign for comment were unsuccessful.