Trans candidates for Ohio House face challenges over their names on paperwork
There are four candidates who had filed to run for the Ohio House this year who are trans, and two of them have faced challenges over their petitions based on their names. They’re also the only Democrats running in those four rural and strongly Republican districts.
Arienne Childrey of St. Mary's in Auglaize County is running for the 84th House district. She said her petitions had been certified when Mercer County Republican Party chair Bob Hibner filed a protest because she didn’t list her previous or "dead" name. Hibner's protest, filed with the Mercer County Board of Elections, cited a law that requires petitions to include a person's former names if they have had a change of name in the last five years.
"The Secretary of State includes no direction on that in the candidate guide," said Childrey. "And that there is literally no space on the form for me to put both names."
Last week, Vanessa Joy of Massillon, the estranged stepdaughter of Rep. Bill Roemer (R-Richfield), was disqualified by the Stark County Board of Elections for the same thing. That seat is open, with Matthew Kishman of Minerva as the Republican candidate.
Childrey said she thinks this is part of a trend that actually got her into the race.
“I do believe that it is very much so connected to what we're seeing going on in our general assembly which frankly, I see as an all-out attack on the LGBT community with a focus on the trans community," Childrey said.
One of the laws cited in the protest states that only people of the same political party can file protests in primaries. A hearing on Childrey’s candidacy is set for next week.
The Mercer County Democratic Party unanimously passed a resolution Monday night calling for the immediate dismissal of the protest.
Vanessa Joy had appealed the Stark County Board of Elections’ decision, but her appeal was denied.
The other trans candidates who've filed petitions to run for the Ohio House are both hoping to challenge incumbent Republicans. Bobbie Arnold of West Alexandria in Preble County is running against 40th House District Rep. Rodney Creech (R-West Alexandria), and Ari Faber of Athens would face 95th House District Rep. Don Jones (R-Freeport).