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Steve Christopher Continues Legal Challenge- Jennifer Brunner Looks Increasingly Ridiculous

March 13th, 2010 Matt View Comments

From the Steve Christopher for Attorney General Campaign:

As of today, March 12, 2010, Steve Christopher has given his attorney, David Langdon of Cincinnati, photocopies of all of the petitions that were filed with Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner’s office on February 18. Langdon attempted to work with the Secretary of State’s office in an effort to find a resolution to the lost or misplaced petitions. It was Christopher’s intent to have these petitions sent to the proper county Boards of Elections so that the signatures on the petitions could be properly validated.

A fair and equitable agreement could not be reached with the Secretary of State’s Office. Steve Christopher has authorized Langdon to proceed with court action to secure his rightful position on the May Republican primary ballot. Due to the extremely restrictive time restraints regarding election laws, Christopher has no further time to wait for a resolution. Langdon has filed a complaint for writ of mandamus with the Ohio Supreme Court on Christopher’s behalf.

And Dennis Willard has a good column on it today in the Akron Beacon Urinal:

Jeff Ortega, a spokesman for Brunner, said the office does not count or check the signatures because that responsibility falls on the local boards.

”Nothing was lost. Nothing was misplaced. Everything was handled according to a proper chain of custody and we can prove it,” Ortega said.

He said an employee asked Christopher how many signatures were collected and, after hesitating, Christopher said ”2,750” and that was the number written down.

Ortega said the 788 total signatures were sent out to be checked and the local election boards reported back to Brunner that Christopher had collected 638 valid signatures and 166 invalid signatures.

Ahem, that’s 804 total signatures. Ortega said he would check on those figures and he responded via e-mail.

Ortega emphasized the focus is on valid signatures.

”Those numbers were double-checked by our office. The number of valid signatures is what is reflected in the letter notifying candidates whether they are or are not on the ballot,” he wrote.

But the numbers don’t add up.

”There may be some discrepancies in some of the numbers sent to us by the counties, but these are minor calculating errors that will be addressed via amended work sheets that counties will submit in the near future,” Ortega wrote.

He noted that ”Medina County reported 96 valid signatures, 18 invalid, adding up to 104. It should have been 96 valid, 8 invalid, which does add up to 104. One other county, Hardin, reported 101 valid, 6 invalid, but added it up as 101. Of course, it should have been 107.”

Of course. Why didn’t I see that in the first place?

”Again, these are minor discrepancies that do not affect the number of valid signatures,” Ortega wrote.[...]

By the end of the day, Christopher did what any self-respecting attorney always does. He sued Brunner.

Rankin succinctly pinpointed the situation now.

”The numerous allegations made by Mr. Christopher and his supporters must now be proved in a court of law, where the party bringing the charges bears the burden to prove them,” Rankin noted.

In other words, this is no longer a ”he said, she said” debate.

Christopher is going to have to prove he was bumped from the ballot either through omission or commission in Brunner’s office.

For Christopher, this is the chance of a political lifetime. By winning, he can show he was wronged and demonstrate he has the skills, an abundance of skills needed, to actually be attorney general.

Relevant documents documents can be found below the fold:

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Steve Christopher Update- Confirmation of the Excel File & Personal Reports from Signature Collectors

March 10th, 2010 Matt View Comments

Things only get worse for Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, as there is no way for them to definitely prove they didn’t receive extra signatures. This is from the Steve Christopher for Attorney General campaign:

Yesterday, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner issued a press release entitled, “SECRETARY BRUNNER RESPONDS TO UNFOUNDED ALLEGATIONS.” In this release, Secretary Brunner stated that she did not know why Steve Christopher would not contact her office. In fact, a representative for the Christopher campaign did visit the Secretary of State’s office on Monday regarding this situation. In this meeting, it was reiterated by Secretary of State personnel that the 788-signature count would stand. Election laws are very specific and if Christopher would have waited for a resolution, he would have lost his legal recourse to be placed on the ballot. Christopher retained legal representation to ensure his right to be on the ballot. Christopher’s legal counsel is attempting to arrange a meeting with the Secretary of State’s office, and will discuss the issue of the campaign’s copies of its petitions.

Secretary Brunner states, in this same press release, that the number of signatures purported on the receipt is given by the candidate. The number of signatures on the receipt given to Christopher was filled out by a Secretary of State employee. The employee accepting these petitions does this for a living and could easily detect a discrepancy of almost 2,000 signatures, merely by size of the stack of paper.

Today we obtained an Excel spreadsheet file that was created and distributed by the Secretary of State’s office to all 88 Ohio county Boards of Elections. This spreadsheet was created on February 18th at 5:51 PM, over five hours after Steve’s petition submittal. We can produce this document upon request, pending the approval of the campaign’s attorney.

It sounds like total incompetence at the Secretary of State’s office, which is backed up by reports from those who personally went around their neighborhoods collecting signatures…

First, from Phil Herzing in Dayton:

I see that a narrative has developed: Steve Christopher is crazy. He can’t count, and wasted all his time going to the Sec. of State’s office to turn in a pile of signatures that he ought to have known was inadequate. Except that I called the S.o.S. office myself to inquire after the location of the signatures I myself gathered (about 90). Montgomery County Board of Elections only received 4 (you read right: FOUR) for validation. A nice young lady named Alison in the Brunner’s office claims that the candidate never turned them in.

Fair enough, I said to her. “Suppose in a couple years I want to run for some office, and I have to turn in my nominating petitions in the Secretary of State’s office, like Christopher did last month. What process do I have to follow to ensure that I don’t end up in the same boat that he’s in now, holding a receipt for 2750 submitted signatures, but being subsequently told that I only turned in 788?”

(A Their word against mine. More precisely, their word on Feb 18th versus their word now!)

“What procedure does your office have in place to prevent discrepancies like this?”

The answer I got: “We don’t have one.”

“In other words, the receipt you give out is worthless. Is that what you’re telling me now?”

Silence.

So, in the absence of any verifiable proof that Brunner’s office is telling me the truth, I guess I’m free to believe whom I choose. Since I gathered nearly 100 signatures myself, I choose to believe that the Candidate turned them in. Why shouldn’t I?

And this is from Thea Shoemake, Vice Chair of the Clermont County GOP Central Committee:

On Wednesday, February 17, Steve Christopher spoke to the Clermont County Central Committee in Batavia.  He was very well-received.  In addition to the signatures I procured for him in Clermont, a few other people who had been circulating his petitions here as well as in neighboring counties, came to the meeting that night to hand-deliver them to Steve.  I’m estimating that he had – from that stop alone – approx. 300 signatures from Clermont, Warren & Hamilton counties (combined).  It was my understanding that Steve was going to drive to Columbus after the meeting – petitions in hand – and would file the next day.  Somewhere between then and March 5th, those signatures ceased to exist, including my own and other committee members’ (which I know are valid).

Here is the information that I have confirmed with our county Board of Elections:

1.      The SoS’s office sent out a worksheet of estimated signatures from all candidates, parties & races (ours reads 2,750 for Christopher).

2.      The next step in the process dictates that the SoS then sends the candidates’ petitions back to the respective county BoE’s for validation.

a.       Attached is the Directive sent by the SoS regarding Steve Christopher’s petitions. Near the end it reads:

§  “Please return the original completed certification form and part petitions to this office by a trackable method; e.g., in person or by certified U.S. Mail, U.S. Post Office Express Mail, UPS, or Fed EX.”

b.      But according to our BoE, none were ever received from the SoS office.  So where are those Clermont petitions?  Where are the others?  This isn’t about the validity of the signatures, it’s about signatures that never made it back to the counties for validation.

While we could speculate ad nauseam about other scenarios and their suppositional motives, at the end of the day, the issue at hand is that many Ohioans just got “lost in transmission,” and it is in the best interest of everyone involved to get definitive answers and an acceptable resolution.

Best,
Thea Shoemake

And from Kimberly Fletcher, President and Founder of Homemakers for America, in Dayton:

I would be happy to comment on this issue.

I opened my home for an entire day during those huge snow days and despite the terrible weather I had 65 people file in my house apologizing all the way for tramping through my living room wet snow covered boots. And I just looked at them and said with a big smile, “You just bring those patriotic, snow covered boots right in her and sign. This is much important than a floor or carpet.”

I collected signatures at church, community events, door to door for a week in the snow. My friend Phil and I organized signing parties. He took south Dayton and I took north. I had all the petitions and I needed to get them to him but I was heading to Cleveland for a speaking engagement (where I also collected signatures) so we coordinated a drop site. I told him I would just drive down I 75 find a good place and leave the envelope and then let him know where to pick it up. I found an old abandoned building just off the Main St exit downtown Dayton. He picked them up that afternoon and started gathering signatures. He had over 100 people meet him at Starbucks to sign petitions. It was like this over the state.

Once we had our petitions done we organized drop sites for Steve to pick them up. I took all my petitions and the ones people collected from north Dayton to Miami county where there several more waiting. Others dropped theirs at the south drop point. The Steve drove through and picked them up. It was amazing. Because of all our efforts we collected over 2000 signatures in four days. Steve already had 800 he had already had turned in to him. This is the power of the people in action. Ms. Brunner and ever corrupt politician out there should be shaking in their boots. We the people are rising up and in America the people rule. Ms. Brunner might want to remind herself of that. We are her boss. And the boss is not happy with her performance.

And this is just the surface of dedicated conservative activists who worked hard to collect signatures, but somehow Secretary of State Brunner’s office lost them. But with at least 2000 of the signatures photocopied and in the hands of Steve Christopher, he has a strong legal case to make here.

Stay tuned for more details!

Steve Christopher Needs to Dump the Tin-Foil Brigade

March 6th, 2010 Matt View Comments

I loved the idea of a conservative alternative to Mike DeWine for Attorney General. DeWine’s brand of Republicanism just doesn’t appeal to me.

But this is pure insanity:

Yeah, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner worked with every county board of elections, which each consists of the same number of Republicans and Democrats, to conspire and disqualify as many votes as possible to keep Steve Christopher off the ballot.

I can see the black helicopters over Columbus now.

Steve Christopher Donated Big Bucks to “Liberal” Mike DeWine

February 8th, 2010 Matt View Comments


(picture from his public Facebook profile)

I have made my strong disapproval of Mike DeWine known.  As Ohio’s Senator, he showed himself to be a man who lacks principles and helped destroy the Republican party brand. Since the Attorney General is not on the apportionment board, I couldn’t blame a conservative who doesn’t vote for Mike in November.

So how exciting it was this afternoon to hear that DeWine was going to get some primary heat from the right. And he happens to be a professor from the same school that DeWine attended law school:

Hardin County attorney Steve Christopher today, Feb. 8, said he is running for the Republican nomination for attorney general against former U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine of Cedarville.

“I feel like the moderates and conservatives need to have a candidate for attorney general who’s not a professional politician and a liberal, which DeWine and Cordray both are,” Christopher, 51, who is part of the Tea Party movement, said by phone.[...]

Christopher said he is a township trustee in Hardin County where he lives on a farm near Forest. He has law offices in Kenton and Findlay in Hancock County, where he filed his designation of campaign treasurer form.

“The overriding theme (of the campaign) is that we need a conservative on the ballot, someone who understands the constitution,” said Christopher.

He also is an adjunct professor at Ohio Northern University. DeWine attended law school at Ohio Northern.

Great! Pro-constitution! Smaller government! Liberal bashing! All stuff I approve of.

BUT, a quick look at campaign finance reports shows that Mr. Christopher has been quite a fan of Mike DeWine, writing substantial checks to DeWine’s campaigns:

6/29/04          Primary 2006-2006    $5
6/26/02          General 2006-2006    $10
2/11/02          Primary 2006-2006    $1,000
10/3/00          GENERAL 2000-2000    $650
9/8/00          GENERAL 2000-2000    $300
7/12/00          GENERAL 2000-2000    $25
9/2/99          PRIMARY 2000-2000    $1,000
8/10/94          GENERAL 1994-1994    $1,000
3/31/94          PRIMARY 1994-1994    $100
10/26/92    GENERAL 1992-1992    $700
10/22/92    GENERAL 1992-1992    $75
10/22/92    GENERAL 1992-1992    $75
8/24/92          GENERAL 1992-1992    $100

So why would a candidate who embodies the principles of conservatism donate thousands of dollars to a “liberal career politician” like Mike DeWine? That’s not very TEA partyish.

I also noticed he donated at least $1800 to pro-trial lawyer (anti-tort reform) American Association for Justice PAC. hmmmm

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