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Board Postpones Hearing of Protest to 15th District Candidacy

The Franklin County Board of Elections has postponed for three weeks hearing a protest against a candidate for the 15th Congressional District. Columbus business owner and Madison County resident Charles Morrison is running as an independent candidate against incumbent Congresswoman Deborah Pryce and Democratic challenger Mary Jo Kilroy. Several county republican leaders have asked the board to remove Morrison from the November ballot.

Republicans say that if Charles Morrison is allowed to run as an Independent, he might draw votes that would have otherwise gone to Deborah Pryce - and make the chances of losing the seat to a Democrat more likely. Republican Pryce has been in Congress since 1992 and is described as the fourth most powerful person in the House of Representatives. But vote splitting is exactly what Charles Morrison says he wants to happen.

"Well I certainly hope so because I intend for them to lose," Morrison says. "I'm not beholden to either party. I fully expect Deborah Pryce to lose this election. I only need 35% to win this election."

GOP leaders from Franklin, Madison and Union counties are protesting Morrison's candidacy because he's run as a Republican in past elections. But Wednesday afternoon the Franklin County Board of Elections postponed hearing the protest because Morrison's attorney was out of town. Elections director Matt Damschroder says the board will make its decision after a meeting June 21st. He says the bipartisan board of 2 republicans and two democrats will be guided by Ohio law, court precedent and arguments on either side of the issue.

"As with most legal issues, when you read one side it seems like open and shut," Damschroder says. "Then when you read the other side it seems equally open and shut for that side so the board's going to take the opportunity to listen to both sides and weigh it. If the board ties in a 2-2 vote, the question will then go to the secretary of state to decide."

That would be Republican Ken Blackwell. In the meantime Charles Morrison will be spreading the word about his conservative agenda.

"Deborah Pryce is middle of the road and I don't intend to be middle of the road. I would like to go to Washington and take an axe to the money tree, and I would like to put a fence along the border and try to control the illegal immigration that's going on in this country," says Morrison.