The chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Party filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission Wednesday calling two campaign videos on County Commissioner Judy Dodge’s website “deceptive.”
Dodge, an incumbent Democrat, is being challenged by Republican Dave Vore, a former sheriff, and William Pace, an Independent candidate.
Vore and party chairman Rob Scott, at a press conference Wednesday afternoon, accused Dodge of “falsely” claiming an endorsement from the Dayton Daily News. But Dodge said her website includes photos and information about her years of service to Montgomery County including the video. She said she doesn’t intend to take it down.
The Dayton Daily News did endorse Dodge in her 2008 race against Butler Twp. Trustee Joe Ellis, but is now among a growing number of newspapers that have decided not to endorse candidates or issues.
“We endorsed Judy Dodge in 2008. We have never said she was a better candidate than Dave Vore,” Jana Collier, editor-in-chief of the Dayton Daily News said.
The two videos, which also can be viewed on You Tube, were created for Dodge’s 2008 campaign. The videos do not name Dodge’s opponent or indicate the election year. At the end of the videos, a banner “quotes the Dayton Daily News as saying that Dodge is the best choice for county commission,” according to the complaint.
“It’s misleading. It’s deceptive,” Scott said.”We’re asking the candidate to pull the ads because they are so false.”
One of the videos in question includes an endorsement from Tony Hall — a member of Congress for 24 years and a U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Agencies — who is the honorary chairman of Dodge’s campaign.
“I have no intention to bring it down,” Dodge said. “I will be taking this complaint to our attorney and discussing it.”
Phillip Richter, executive director of the Elections Commission, said a panel could review the complaint as early as Monday to determine if there is cause for a full hearing before the seven-member commission. If the complaint moves on to a hearing, the commission has three options: dismiss the complaint; refer the matter to a county prosecutor, or declare the commission findings as sufficient penalty.
Dodge said the 2008 commercials will not be airing on television this election season. She has produced a new ad that points out Vore is collecting a retirement check from the Public Employees Retirement System and that he lived out of state for several years.
“I think this is a pathetic attempt by Mr. Vore to detract from the issue that if elected, he will become a double dipper,” Dodge said.
Vore said he’s proud that he “served and protected the citizens of Montgomery County during a 28-year career in law enforcement.”
“I earned that retirement. There is absolutely nothing illegal about it,” Vore said. “If she’s using a 2008 commercial on her website, hasn’t she done anything since then?”