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Voters Will Decide If Clermont County Controversies Matter

Ann Thompson
A few controversies have put the Clermont County Republican Party in the hotseat.

The chairman of the Clermont County Republican Party, under fire by a faction of the party, says he relies on honesty and forthrightness to make sure candidates are above board. Apparently, not all of them were. Now voters will decide their fate.

Chair Greg Simpson says it would cost thousands of dollars to investigate every candidate and the Party doesn't have that kind of money. It turns out there were a few surprises.

A candidate for the 65th District admitted to having an Ashley Madison account after the online dating company, catering to married men and women, was hacked and his name was released. The GOP had already endorsed Joe Dills when leaders learned of the account. He admits it was a mistake and said he was single at the time. Dills faces former U.S. Representative Jean Schmidt and Dillon Blevins in the primary.

David Uible, running for the State Senate 's 14th District, is also in some trouble. He pleaded guilty to tampering with records as a Clermont County commissioner in 2018. He was accused of turning in petitions for re-election with signatures that were illegal. Uible faces Terry Johnson in the race.

According to Party Chair Simpson, "Some candidates have left us under a cloud but for the most part we work hard to do a good job."

Simpson himself is under fire by Clermont County Commission candidate and former State Representative John Becker and others. Becker, who is running against Bonnie Batchler and John McGraw, claims Simpson offered him a bribe for his endorsement. Not true, says Simpson, who claims the FBI, the Ohio Attorney General, and the Ohio Ethics Commission looked into it and found he didn't do anything wrong.

Becker says there are problems with the Party that need to be fixed. He wants the precinct terms changed back to two year terms. They are now four. "So now we're stuck with bad leadership for four years instead of being able to reassess two years to replace them," he says.

But Simpson sees a lot of good things with the Party. He says all the county offices are Republican and the Party runs a smooth operation. "We're in the black. We don't have any financial difficulties. It's very open. It's successful."

In another Clermont County Commissioner race, Chris Hicks faces David Painter.

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.