Ohio Democratic Party Backing Write-In Candidate In 2nd District Race
Update Sept. 2?6, 2016: The Ohio Democratic Party has taken the unusual step of endorsing a write-in candidate in the Second Congressional District race.
Saturday, party leaders met in Columbus and gave their endorsement to Janet Everhard, a retired physician from New Richmond over the man who won the March Democratic primary, truck driver William R. Smith of Pike County.
Original post Sept. 13, 2016: It's not very often that a political party rejects a candidate who won its primary election and backs a write-in candidate instead.
But that's exactly what the Hamilton, Clermont and Brown County Democratic Parties are doing in Ohio's Second Congressional District race.
William R. Smith, a truck driver from Waverly in Pike County, won the March primary and will be on the ballot facing incumbent Republican Brad Wenstrup. Smith ran and lost in 2012, and is not campaigning at all.
Hamilton County Democratic Party chair Tim Burke says that's why the party has had enough of Smith and is backing a write-in candidate, Janet Everhard of New Richmond instead.
"The guy who won the primary hasn't done anything and won't do anything,'' Burke said. "We know that because he has done this before. He happens to have a common name and that's apparently enough for people to vote for him."
Everhard filed recently as a write-in candidate; and won the endorsement of the Democratic Party organizations in Hamilton, Clermont and Brown counties. More county party organizations may follow. And Burke has said he is going to ask the Ohio Democratic Party to endorse Everhard.
Everhard told WVXU that she understands how difficult it is to win a write-in race, but said she is committed to this long-term.
"I'm going to give it my all, but, if it doesn't work this time, I will be back in two years and try it again, this time on the ballot,'' Everhard said. "If it takes four years, I'll do that."
Burke called her "an exceptionally well qualified candidate."
"She is a doctor, a surgeon – now retired – and very articulate, very positive,'' Burke said. "She's the far better candidate."
Smith, in a phone interview said party leaders in Hamilton County and at the state level "let me know I wasn't welcome."
He said he doesn't have the financial resources to mount any kind of campaign.
"No, I'm not campaigning," Smith said. "I'm just kind of dead in the water out here."
Wenstrup is running for a third term in the overwhelmingly Republican district.