You might recall State Representative Jarrod Martin (R-Beavercreek) from "Ohio GOP legislators gone wild" Summer ‘11 tour. He was sandwiched between former State Representative Bob Mecklenborg’s DUI arrest and the disorderly conduct call regarding Senator Kris Jordan, which had strong domestic violence overtones.
Martin was originally arrested for DUI with children in his car in Jackson County this summer, then it was revealed that the year prior, Martin was the subject of a Highway Patrol call at the Statehouse where he was found passed out on then House Minority Leader Bill Batchelder’s vehicle. Then another incident in which Martin was forced to leave a hotel after a gentlemanly game of wrestling got out of hand and his parents had to come and pick him up.
Particularly embarrassing for the Ohio GOP is that Martin is the successor in office to current Ohio Republican Party Chairman Kevin DeWine, who held the seat until term limits forced him out.
The Ohio House GOP caucus called on Martin to resign, but he refused, so they stripped Martin of his committee chairmanship. Martin’s official biography boasts how he received the largest athletic scholarship (from Virginia Tech) ever granted to a Beavercreek high school graduate but he didn’t graduate from Virginia Tech but instead the College of Mount St. Joseph.
Martin is only in his second term, and before then had only served on the Beavercreek City Council. Last week, former Beavercreek Mayor and current Greene County Commissioner Rick Perales announced that he is challenging Martin for the GOP nomination next year. Perales is just one of four people who have taken out petitions to primary Martin next year, but he is by far the most impressive and most serious challenger to Martin, as he’s the only candidate with electoral and campaign experience. [Update: The other four are insurance agent Brian Lampton, attorney John Langenderfer and Greene County sheriff’s Capt. Eric Spicer. Spicer is a Captain at the Greene County Sheriff’s Office and had written this column back in February against Senate Bill 5 in the Dayton Daily News. I didn’t mean any disrespect to Spicer, but Perales has all the appearances of someone the GOP “powers that be” seem to have recruited specifically to knee cap Martin.]
With the Ohio House GOP leadership publicly giving Martin the kiss of death by marginalizing him by stripping him of any committee chairs, Martin doesn’t have the usual advantage of an incumbent when it comes to fundraising. And speaking for fundraising, Martin hasn’t exactly built up a warchest that proves to be daunting for any challenger like Perales.
Because this is an off-year, the latest campaign finance report Martin’s campaign filed was back to the end of July since his legal troubles had started. According to that report, Martin reported raising $14,800, but after expenditures were factored in, he reported ending the period with only half that amount in hand. But, wait there’s more! That cash-on-hand figure itself is highly misleading because the campaign also reported that it still has over $18,000 in debts it owes in loans to Martin and Carolyn Martin (his mother). So really, the campaign is broke but is fortunate to owe money to folks who probably are more than willing to forgive repayment so long as they, too, didn’t take out loans to loan money to Martin’s campaign.
So with his campaign in debt, and the fact that he’s persona non grata in Columbus, absent a legal breakthrough, Martin is toast because it’s hard to believe that he isn’t going to start using whatever money he raises at this point to pay off his debts. And here’s the kicker, Perales says Martin’s legal troubles aren’t even what is motivating him to run:
Perales said his campaign is not about Martin, a second-term representative who easily defeated Xenia Republican Bill Miller in a 2010 primary challenge.
“My background as a local government official will help me appreciate what they’re going through in local government funds in what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do it,” Perales said.
Isn’t Perales essentially saying he’s running because he’s upset with how Kasich’s budget was balanced on the backs of local governments? Don’t get me wrong, I fully expect in most other regards that Perales will be much of the same partisan rubber stamp that Martin has been. Still this one area of difference is progress, no?
At this point, the only thing that would surprise me is that Martin actually runs. Then again, there’s the off chance that with no field sobriety tests or breathalyzer tests, Martin actually is acquitted of all charges related to his Jackson County DUI, which are still pending. But I wonder if even that is enough to save his political chances next year.