Candidate pulls out of 5th District race

Tim Sampson and Tim Sampson

There’s one less candidate for Congress than there was a week ago.

After failing to win the endorsement of the Wood County Democratic party last Thursday, retired physician Earl Campbell has dropped out of the 5th District congressional special election, leaving only two other Democratic candidates to compete in the primary next month.

Campbell said losing the endorsement of the party in his own county was a strong indication that he would not be able to successfully challenge the winner of the endorsement, Robin Weirauch, a former University administrator.

The endorsement was decided at a meeting last Thursday night, where members of the Wood County Democrats Executive Committee voted 49-29 in favor of Weirauch.

Weirauch has already won the endorsements of six of the 16 counties in the 5th District.

But Campbell, along with several others in attendance at Thursday’s meeting, took issue with concept of endorsements, which he said deprive the party’s voters of the right to pick their nominee.

‘I’m not sure that endorsements mean democracy in action,’ Campbell said during the meeting.

Terry Dunn, a Bowling Green City Council candidate who was at the meeting, took the floor to argue against endorsements. Dunn said putting all the party’s money and support behind one candidate before the primaries takes the decision away from the rest of the party.

‘I don’t want anything pre-decided for the voters at large,’ he said.

Others were in favor of endorsing, though, arguing that building support for one candidate early on in the race would prove the best strategy for beating the Republican nominee in the general election. This strategy is even more important during that abbreviated time scale of a special election, they said.

‘[The endorsement] will help garner resources and support going into the general election,’ Weirauch said.

This is Weirauch’s third attempt at winning the 5th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. And although Campbell supported Weirauch’s campaigns in 2004 and 2006, he said she has proven herself incapable of taking back a congressional seat that has been occupied by Republicans for more than 70 years.

‘This is a candidate who has bitten the political apple twice and didn’t even win her home county last time,’ Campbell said.

But Weirauch is optimistic about her chances in this race, pointing toward a 21 percent gain in votes between her 2004 and 2006 campaigns. She also said she faces better odds now that she is not running against an incumbent.

With Campbell bowing out of the race, the only candidate now left to face off against Weirauch is George Mays, a business owner from Norwalk, Ohio, who did not receive any votes for endorsement at Thursday’s meeting.

Before the meeting, Mays said he didn’t expect to win the endorsement, aware that he does not have much name recognition.

But Mays, who has never held elected office, argues he is the best candidate to fill the 5th District seat because he comes from a ‘blue collar’ background and understands the needs of northwest Ohio citizens.

‘What has been our experience with experienced politicians?’ he asked. ‘Politics as usual, massive deficit, corruption – we’ve been lied to about the war in Iraq.’

Primary elections for the 5th District race are scheduled for Nov. 6 while the general special election is scheduled for Dec. 11. The race is being held to replace the late U.S. Representative Paul Gillmor [R-Tiffin], who died in September.