PERRY COUNTY, Ohio (WCMH) — One month ago Friday, Larry Householder was arrested by federal authorities and accused of taking part in a $60 million bribery scheme.
The House of Representatives removed Householder as its House Speaker, but he remains the representative for the 72nd District. Until his arrest, he was running unopposed in November but five people have since come forward and filed as write-in candidates for the spot.
This group includes one of the first candidates to file — Jay Conrad. The former marine was born in Lancaster, Ohio. Conrad’s website describes him as “a proud blue-collar worker, and is passionate about serving his community.”
“We’re such a small district,” Conrad said. “We’re mostly rural cities and a lot of times we get forgotten and without any representation, we don’t get anything.”
Two college students have also filed to be write-in candidates. Kaitlyn Clark identifies as a conservative and says she’ll use communication to help her constituents.
“You can really talk to your government, you can talk to your officials, you can talk to your legislators and be heard, feel heard and understood,” said Clark.
Another college student, Tyler Maple, filed on Friday. He believes his age will be an advantage as he tries to give more young voters a voice.
“The majority of young voters quite frankly don’t even get out and vote, let alone write in someone’s name,” said Maple. “I mean they feel like their voices aren’t being heard by either party.”
Robert Leist is also in the running. The Coshocton native says he has some Libertarian views and embodies what the district looks like.
“I’ve worked a blue-collar job for 35 years. I’m relatable,” said Leist. “There’s been times where I’ve had to go paycheck to paycheck.”
Another recent candidate is Marci McCaulay. McCaulay is a Democrat and said after being happily retired, she decided to run so that constituents know they have a choice besides Householder this November.
“The most important thing for me is to educate people about the importance of having this voice and representation but also that they have a choice,” said McCaulay.
The deadline to file as a write-in candidate is Monday, August 24. After that, the county board of elections will certify candidates and release an official list.
Come election day, if someone would like to vote for one of these candidates, they will need to write that person’s name on the ballot. Election officials say spelling does not need to be perfect and they will normally accept a first or last name.