Clermont Co. Board of Elections removes incumbent commissioner from May primary
BATAVIA, Ohio (WKRC) - There was a political shocker in Clermont County on Monday.
An incumbent county commissioner was yanked off the May primary ballot because of problems with his nominating petitions.
That means David Uible cannot run for re-election. So, what went wrong?
To run for office, you need to get a certain amount of signatures on a nominating petition. The number depends on the office.
When David Uible handed in his petitions, everything looked fine, at first, but some of Uible's critics looked more closely and found the petitions had a problem.
“I don't think it's a technicality. I think it's part of a pattern of abuses in Clermont County that have taken place by public officials,” said Chris Hicks.
Chris Hicks, a Republican primary candidate for county auditor, and Tom Bixler, a primary candidate for commissioner against Uible, filed the complaint.
Under Ohio law, people who collect petitions must witness every single person signing the document.
A county resident named James Kidwell collected petitions for Uible. Most of those signatures came at a Republican endorsement meeting on January 17th, but five signatures came on other days.
Kidwell testified he never collected those five.
“Everybody who knows me knows I was in Florida for six weeks the day after the endorsement,” said Kidwell.
Kidwell said he gave the incomplete petition to David Uible, who said he would take care of it.
The Board of Elections threw it out, meaning Uible did not have enough signatures to qualify to run.
David Uible is not only an incumbent county commissioner, but he's also the chair of the Clermont County Republican Party.
Clermont County is overwhelmingly part of the GOP, but clearly, the dominant political party has some internal disputes going on.
“I think there's a lot of things to move this county forward, first and foremost is having a commissioner who has integrity and transparency for the citizens of Clermont County,” said Tom Bixler.
The Board of Elections, consisting of two Republicans and a Democrat, voted unanimously to disqualify Uible's petition.
“I'm really glad the board of elections said that the laws apply to all of us equally,” said Bixler.
County commission candidates in Clermont County this year needed 50 valid petition signatures. When one of Uible's petitions was disqualified, that knocked him below the 50-signature threshold.
Commissioner Uible was not at Monday's meeting. His attorney was but had no comment.
With Uible off the ballot, there are now four candidates in the Republican primary for that commission seat: Tom Bixler, Michael Collins, Claire Corcoran, and Doug Young.
Chris Hicks is running for auditor against incumbent Linda Fraley in that same may 8th Republican contest.