Both Republican candidates for the 83rd Ohio House District seat said tonight they are uncomfortable with the tone of the race after ad campaigns launched by opposing super PACs negatively portrayed them both.
Candidates Cheryl Buckland of Findlay and Jon Cross of Kenton participated in a candidate forum tonight hosted by the American Association of University Women, The Courier, UFTV and WFIN.
Along with derogatory radio ads, last week the Conservative Alliance PAC sent a mailing claiming that Cross is “not one of us.” The mailer said Cross is a “San Francisco-style liberal trying to fool Ohio conservatives,” and showed an old Volkswagen van with “peace and love” painted on the side.
A PAC identifying itself as “Growth & Opportunity Pac Inc.” fired back with a mailer that portrayed Buckland as a “political insider,” a “swamp creature,” and claims she never supported “Trump Republicans.”
A super PAC is a type of independent political action committee that may raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, and individuals but is not permitted to contribute to or coordinate directly with parties or candidates.
Both candidates said they have no control over the super PACs.
“I don’t think voters of the 83rd District are used to a campaign like this. State representative races tend to be low-key and for the most part civil,” Buckland said. “Candidates don’t have control over outside groups who have a vested interest in having the right candidates in Columbus, Ohio. With that said, I’ve tried to stay above board on my Facebook posts and other communications that my personal campaign has sent. I think most people in the United States of America would prefer that we didn’t have money spent on ads. Frankly, I was as surprised as anyone to see the accusations that were apparently founded on truth.”
Cross said: “For the last 10 days, I have asked my opponent to denounce this kind of trash politics. It’s not working. I have been knocking on doors for the last week and voters are tired of this. They are tired of the negative antics. They are tired of the trash politics, and I want to go to Columbus and it’s time to take the trash out. … We have enough to the swamp in Washington, D.C., we don’t need it here in the 83rd District.”
Courier reporter Denise Grant is developing this story.