A consultant who advised Republican state House candidate Jocelyn Smith last year as she geared up her campaign against state Rep. Rick Perales, R-Beavercreek, said that Smith told him she had a consensual sexting relationship with Perales that included no violence.
“He never choked her, according to her,” said Michael Talev, a Cleveland consultant who worked for Smith for about six months before quitting about five or six months ago.
Smith told Talev that she and Perales had exchanged sexually oriented texts and she wanted to use it against Perales in her campaign so she could “make it public and ruin him,” Talev said.
“I said, ‘Did he threaten you, did he abuse you, did he assault you in any way? She said, ‘no,” said Talev. “The reason why I asked that is if there was a crime committed I was going to advise her to file a police report immediately.”
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Talev said he resigned as Smith’s career consultant in 2017 after she said she wanted to send Perales’ wife, children and grandchildren the sexually oriented texts Smith said the two of them exchanged.
“I’m not going to involve family members in campaigns, period. It’s mudslinging.” said Talev. “I told her, look Jocelyn, I can’t do this any more. I’m resigning. The money you owe me, forget about it.”
Talev said those texts included a topless one of Smith that “she had blocked the chest out” and which Smith portrayed as one she exchanged with Perales. He advised her to run a clean campaign and not use the texts.
“Number one, the public doesn’t like mudslinging and number two you are going to look as bad as he is because you were doing something with a married man,” Talev said he told Smith.
Smith, 36, of Fairborn denies Talev’s allegations, saying that she fired him after a month or two and did not show him any texts or threaten to send them to Perales’ family.
“I did not trust him. He did not deliver,” Smith said on Wednesday. “This is someone getting even with me because he’s bitter because I fired him. This is a mouthpiece for Perales for character assassination.”
Smith made her allegations against Perales public earlier this week, saying that she continued texting and communicating with him after the alleged choking incident because she wanted to accomplish some political objectives. She said he sent her unwanted sexually-oriented texts and tried to kiss her another time before she told him to leave her alone in late spring 2015.
Smith held a news conference on Tuesday where she labeled Perales a “sexual predator” and said she would release more of his texts if he didn’t resign and drop out of the race.
Perales, who is married, said he had a brief “inappropriate” sexting relationship that was consensual with Smith, who is divorced, but quickly moved to end it. He denies choking her, kissing her or having any sexual contact with her.
“I am not stepping down. I’ve admitted to my part in this situation that occurred more than three years ago, and I am willing to accept the consequences of my poor judgment in texting and befriending this person,” Perales said. “However, I will not continue to entertain my opponent’s threats and allegations, my focus needs to be on my family, and service to the constituents of the 73rd District.”
The district includes most of western Greene County including Beavercreek, Fairborn, Yellow Springs and Bellbrook.
The two face off May 8 in the Republican primary and the winner will run in the Nov. 6 election against Democrat Kim McCarthy of Sugarcreek Twp.
Talev said he doesn’t know Perales but called him after he quit the campaign to warn him that Smith was planning to send the texts to his family. Talev said he decided to go public to “speak the truth” on Wednesday after hearing that Smith accused Perales of forcefully kissing and choking her.
“They both did wrong, actually. Let’s be honest about it. But let’s not invent things to get elected,” Talev said. “If we elect people who lie our countries or states are going to be wrecked. We are going to live in a mess.”