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Democratic state senate candidate Craig Swartz addresses Ackison-Reineke GOP primary drama

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Craig Swartz (D-Upper Sandusky)

While two Republicans are facing off to run for the 26th district state senate seat in what has been called the most nasty primary race in Ohio state legislative history, the sole Democratic candidate in the race, Craig Swartz, says the drama-filled GOP primary race is not the way he’s running his campaign.

The statement from Swartz’s campaign references a recent report in which one of the the candidates in the brutal GOP primary, current State Rep. Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin), was accused by his opponent, Melissa Ackison (R-Marysville), of utilizing a “spy” in order to leak audio recordings from one of Ackison’s campaign strategy meetings.

In addition to the recent developments in the race revolving around leaked audio recordings, Reineke recently launched a barrage of TV, radio, and mailer advertisements dedicated to attacking Ackison. Reineke’s campaign was even reprimanded by one of Ohio’s largest newspapers, The Toledo Blade, for misquoting their article to use in his attack ad.


Bill Reineke (left), Melissa Ackison

Reineke’s campaign manager, Caleb Stidham, told The Blade that the campaign was “paraphrasing” what the newspaper article said, even though the phrase appeared surrounded by quotation marks.

“In light of news articles, recently leaked audio and mud-slinging campaign tactics, our campaign wants to make a promise to the People,” a statement from the Swartz campaign says.

“Name calling and Watergate-like campaign tactics will not be how we approach politics,” Swartz, who previously served as a member of Upper Sandusky City Council, is quoted as saying. “Our promise is that our campaign will be focused on the issues that affect the every day lives of constituents, like Medicaid Expansion, Education, Energy, and Labor issues.”

“We look forward to running a clean and passionate campaign for the folks of District 26,” Swartz added.

Swartz currently works as a small business consultant, a licensed real estate agent, and a logistical support agent for a company in Carey.


In addition to previously serving on city council in Upper Sandusky, Swartz served on a local United Way board in Wyandot County, ran for mayor of Upper Sandusky and previously ran for state representative.

“I believe the values I grew up with are still possible despite today’s toxic political environment saying otherwise. The shared ideals our communities have can be readily found when we hold a respectful conversation with our neighbors. The solutions we seek for producing good paying jobs that can raise families and give dignity to people are right in front of us when we work together,” Swartz is quoted as saying. “We must hold our ground against the partisan elite and special interests who wish to tear us apart and increase their bottom lines at the expense of our communities. Together with your support, we can rise up together, make our communities better and truly bring Ohio back to a better future.”

Melissa Ackison is a small business owner and conservative activist from Marysville. She previously ran for U.S. Senate in the 2018 Republican primary, coming in third place behind Jim Renacci and Mike Gibbons. Ackison describes herself as a “habitual line-stepper.”

Bill Reineke, a Tiffin-based car dealership tycoon, has served in the Ohio Statehouse since 2015. He is currently serving his third term as state representative of the 88th statehouse district, which includes Sandusky County and the majority of Seneca County.


The primary election will take place March 17. Whichever Republican, Ackison or Reineke, wins the primary will go on to face Swartz in the November general election.

Related: Toledo Blade: Bill Reineke misquoted newspaper in attack ad against Melissa Ackison

Related: Ohio Senate candidate Bill Reineke accused of sending spy into Melissa Ackison campaign

Related: Ohio Senate candidate Melissa Ackison lashes out after Bill Reineke attacks her supporters

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