TIFFIN — Controversial Fremont-area Baptist preacher and current state representative candidate Gary Click (R-Vickery) said Saturday that he got caught shoplifting from a drug store years ago.
Click’s comments came during a speech he gave at a pro-law enforcement rally in Downtown Tiffin.
Initially, Click shared the story from a third-person point of view.
“There was a young man, who was about 16, 17 years old. And he got in trouble, he got caught. He was in a drugstore, and got caught shoplifting, stealing a pair of sunglasses,” Click explained.
Click said after he left the store, a security officer approached him and asked where the sunglasses were.
“They’re in my pocket,” Click says he admitted to the officer.
According to Click, the officer then took him into the back office of the drug store and told him what he was doing did not put him on the “track to make a difference, at least a good difference.”
“That young man grew up to be a police chaplain, and also a pastor, and today he’s your candidate for state representative. That was me,” Click said.
Click has also talked about his drug and alcohol use beginning in his early years several times on the campaign trail. The first instance came when the pastor was sharing memories at his campaign kickoff event.
“When I was 16… I got drunk, my dad gave me pot, I smoked my first joint with my dad, and by the way I haven’t smoked many since just so you know,” Click said during his campaign announcement speech. “I think I inhaled, but I’m not sure.”
Click is a former community theater actor and currently works as a pastor at Fremont Baptist Temple. Click, one of the first candidates for state office from the area without any private sector experience, most recently served on the Republican State Central Committee, representing the 26th Senate district.
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 the video which showed Click berating Ackison, State Rep. Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) 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 office said.
Click is currently embroiled in a legal battle with Ackison over defamation, slander, and other accusations.
Click is running as the Republican candidate for the 88th Ohio House district.
The 88th Ohio House district includes all of Sandusky County and the majority of Seneca County.
Click will face Fremont City Councilman Chris Liebold (D) in the November general election.
Click unsuccessfully ran for Sandusky County Commissioner in 2016, losing in a three-way Republican primary.