Salem News, By Deanne Johnson, March 16, 2022
LISBON — County Republicans gathered this past weekend to choose which candidates they will support in contested races and officially endorse some of the candidates in uncontested races.
According to County Republican Chairman David Johnson several candidates from contested races were given the opportunity to give a five minute presentation to the local committee of the GOP.
With a burial mass Saturday for his mother-in-law, Mary E. Struewing, Gov. Mike DeWine did not attend, but Johnson said DeWine did make a pre-recorded video presentation to the group. DeWine received 92 percent of the votes of support. Governor candidate Jim Renacci spoke and another candidate for the GOP nod for governor, Joe Blystone, sent a representative to speak at the meeting.
Secretary of State Frank LaRose received 100 percent of the votes over John Adams, who reportedly texted at the last minute he could not attend.
For the state central committee, Johnson said he received nearly 100 percent of the votes over his opponent Rick Barron, who did come and speak to the group.
Although they were not invited to speak at the event, local Republicans reportedly gave the nod to Jane Timken for U.S. Senator with 80 percent of the vote over Mike Gibbons with 15 percent and the rest of the field of five additional Republicans.
U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson was the group’s choice for another 6th District term. Monica Robb Blasdell was endorsed for state representative position being vacated by State Rep. Tim Ginter, who is leaving due to term limits.
Local incumbents to receive support were Commissioner Mike Halleck, Common Pleas Court Judge Scott Washam and County Auditor Nancy Milliken.
Aside from endorsing candidates, David Johnson said the group overwhelmingly voiced support for former President Donald J. Trump to run again for president in 2024.
A straw vote showed 87 percent of local Republicans at the meeting are against recreational marijuana. Sheriff Brian McLaughlin spoke about the push for legalization, bringing statistics about how many young people began to use after legalization in Colorado and the difficulties that creates when they are trying to be hired.
The event was held at the New Lisbon Masonic Lodge and organized by an ad hock committee chaired by County Prosecutor Vito Abruzzino, along with County Recorder James Armeni and Fairfield Township Trustee Barry Miner. The voting was done by secret ballot.