As it turns out, the incumbent Republican state representative for the 85th Ohio House district will have a Democratic challenger in the Nov. 3 election.
Ted Greek of Urbana filed to run as a write-in candidate on Monday. Nino Vitale, also of Urbana, is seeking his fourth and final term as the current state representative. The 85th district includes Champaign and parts of Logan and Shelby counties. The position pays $63,000 a year. Ohio permits state representatives to serve four consecutive terms.
Local Democrats moved quickly to embrace Greek’s decision to challenge Vitale.
“Greek will not just listen to the voters of his district but will actually hear what they are saying and represent accordingly,” local Democrats wrote in a prepared statement.
Champaign County Democrats had previously issued an official “proclamation of condemnation” on July 8 of Vitale, citing his opposition to state health officials’ mandates early in the COVID-19 pandemic. Democrats also have condemned Vitale due to what they call his “trust in conspiracy theories.” No one had filed to run against Vitale in the March primary election, but local Democratic party leaders were incensed by the national attention drawn to the district by Vitale’s stances on health and social issues during the pandemic.
Vitale has been a vocal critic of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and former state health director Dr. Amy Acton. Vitale has railed against testing protocols for COVID-19 in Ohio and spurned facial mask recommendations aimed at stopping the spread of the virus.
This week, Vitale was part of a small group of lawmakers organizing an impeachment effort against DeWine, a Republican.
Greek is a 2002 graduate of Riverside High School in DeGraff. He is a graduate of Wittenberg University with a degree in mathematics.
Greek, 36, serves as an operations leader and shares technical expertise as an employee of the architectural firm NBBJ in Columbus. Additionally, Greek is co-owner of Birch Bark Canoe Livery located along Mad River.
“Greek understands the demands of running a small business, including managing staff and changing situations especially during a pandemic,” local Democrats stated in a written endorsement.
This is Greek’s first attempt at seeking a political office.
When asked why he decided to run, he answered: “The Democrats’ view on social welfare and concern for the community is why I’m running as a Democrat.”
Greek said he believes his experience as a small business owner pairs well with his leadership expertise in information technology.
Greek plans to formally unveil his platform in the coming week.
Greek’s wife Meghan, as well as their two children Walker (4), and Wyatt (2), plan to be visible on the campaign trail, even if socially distant with their face coverings.
Brenda Burns can be reached at email@example.com.