Former state representative candidate Rachel Crooks (D-Tiffin) slammed controversial Baptist preacher Gary Click (R-Vickery), a current Republican candidate for the seat she unsuccessfully sought in 2018, saying “we can’t allow people like him to denigrate women.”
Crooks, who has largely avoided publicly discussing local politics since being defeated by incumbent State Rep. Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) in 2018, has recently began jumping into the fray — not as a candidate, but rather as a surrogate for Fremont City Councilman Chris Liebold (D-Fremont), who is the sole Democratic candidate for the 88th district Ohio House seat this year.
Crooks wrote in an e-mail to supporters Tuesday that “things in Ohio District 88 keep getting more bizarre.”
“The leading Republican candidate for State Representative referred to the press as the ‘jungle of journalism,’ staunchly defended accused pedophile Roy Moore, and continues to bash a female candidate for Senate calling her, ‘trash,’ ‘phony’ and other insults,” Crooks wrote, referencing Click’s comments made in 2018 in which he bashed the media while speaking at a Trump rally in Ohio.
“Did I mention he’s also a pastor and touts himself as ‘unapologetically pro-life?'” Crooks wrote in the e-mail.
“We can’t allow people like him to denigrate women, promote policies that strip us of our rights, and be elevated to public office,” Crooks added. “This is why we need candidates like my friend, Chris Liebold.”
Liebold is a recent University of Toledo College of Law graduate and works at a law firm in Fremont alongside serving as a city councilman. He is the only Democratic candidate running for the 88th district seat.
Originally from Green Springs, Liebold moved to Fremont and was elected to city council in 2018. Liebold also currently serves as Chairman of the Sandusky County Democratic Party.
Gary Click is running in the Republican primary for the 88th district statehouse seat against Seneca County Commissioner Shayne Thomas (R-Clinton Twp.) and environmental engineer Ed Ollom (R-Fremont). Click has received the endorsement of the Ohio Republican Party.
Click is a former community theater actor and currently works as a pastor at Fremont Baptist Temple. He is one of the first local candidates with no private sector experience.
Click currently serves on the Republican State Central Committee, representing the 26th Senate district.
Click has come under fire over the past few weeks 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 Click “getting in the face of” and berating GOP Ohio Senate candidate Melissa Ackison, current State Rep. Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) has 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 campaign said.
Click gained national attention in 2018 after he riled up defenders of the news media with his prayer before President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Delaware County.
“Tonight I pray that you will protect our president, and his family, with a shield of faith. Lord, that shield of faith against the fiery darts of the wicked one. Lord, against that jungle of journalism that distorts truth and distorts honesty and integrity every single day — gets in his face with lies and mistruths and innuendo,” Click said at the rally.
Click acknowledged in an interview that he agrees with some of Trump’s attacks on the media, particularly a “specific breed of predatory journalism that is uncivilized and has a preconceived story line before they write” — news organizations such as CNN.
“That was not an attack on all journalism. There are genuine journalists out there who do a fine job,” Click said. “I believe in a free press, I just don’t believe in a free pass. Who holds journalists accountable? Every one of of us need to be held accountable … I didn’t pray for God to strike (journalists) down, I did not seek violence.”
The primary election results are set to be announced Tuesday, April 28, after voting for the primary was changed to a mail-in absentee system due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Whoever wins the Republican primary — Click, Thomas, or Ollom — will go on to face Liebold in the November general election.