ATHENS, Ohio (WCMH) — An Athens County lawyer campaigning for an Ohio House seat will be on the Nov. 8 ballot, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled, after Secretary of State Frank LaRose previously blocked her name from appearing in front of voters.

Tanya Conrath, 51, took her race to the state’s highest court in September, which decided 4-3 on Tuesday that LaRose erred in his ruling and ordered the Democrat’s name onto the ballot in southeast Ohio.

Tanya Conrath (Courtesy Photo/Haley Janoski)

“Conrath has a clear legal right to have her name placed on the ballot as a result of the district committee’s timely filed nomination of her and her acceptance of the nomination,” the supreme court majority opinion read.

She was first approached by the Athens County Democratic Party in August to serve as a substitute nominee. That vacancy came when Rhyan Goodman — who originally filed from his dorm room address at Ohio University and ran unopposed — withdrew from the race six days after the Aug. 2 primary.

The Athens County Board of Elections voted 2-2, reportedly along party lines, on whether to certify Conrath as a candidate. LaRose was asked to break the tie, and in a letter on Sept. 11, the Republican secretary of state voted no.

Ohio District 94 covers several southeastern Ohio counties, including Athens, Meigs, Morgan, and part of Washington.

LaRose’s decision centered on several dates connected to the August primary. Ohio had two primaries in 2022 after multiple sets of legislative maps were approved by the state’s redistricting committee but then rejected by the Ohio Supreme Court for favoring Republicans too strongly.

He wrote that because the election had yet to be canvassed, Goodman was not the party nominee when he requested to withdraw.

“The unofficial canvass on Election Night, by definition, produces unofficial results,” the September letter read. 

But the Ohio Supreme Court said that because of how unusual the August primary was, the Athens County Democratic Party could not have waited any longer to put forth a candidate in Goodman’s place.

“Despite Secretary LaRose’s conclusion that the replacement nomination had been premature, the replacement was made as late as it legally could have been without being too late,” the opinion read.

LaRose told NBC4 at a voter registration event Tuesday at Land-Grant Brewing he disagreed with the court’s decision, but that his office had been working with the affected counties in recent weeks in case the ruling fell this way — and that they will follow the order.

“The work of making sure the counties were prepared for that is obviously not something that started today,” LaRose said. “It is unfortunate that they will have to send out, probably, a supplemental ballot to overseas and military voters that have already gotten their ballot.”

Conrath is an Athens High School graduate who moved back to the area with her high school sweetheart after she graduated from Ohio State University’s law school. She said in an earlier interview she thought she was left with two choices: “throw in the towel and be done,” or to try to change the outcome.

“Today is a banner day for democracy, freedom and choice. What a relief to have the Ohio Supreme Court be the parent in the room and put a stop to this partisan bullying,” Conrath said in a text statement Tuesday. “Isn’t this the biggest nightmare for Jay Edwards?”

Conrath will face Rep. Jay Edwards — the incumbent GOP candidate who ran unopposed in his primary and is vying for a fourth and final two-year term — in the Nov. 8 election.