Clearing up misconceptions on sheriff’s campaign

In a Letter to the Editor in the Friday, April 15, 2022, edition of The Daily Advocate, Chris Hensley alleged that my original letter to the editor contained mistruths and/or lack of knowledge about Sheriff Whittaker’s campaign. I reached out to Mr. Hensley to clarify and correct a number of these allegations, but there was no response.

Mr. Hensley’s first incorrect allegation involved the members of the screening committee. After Sheriff Toby Spencer retired, the Darke County Republican Party was tasked with appointing a replacement to this position, per the Ohio Revised Code. Because the party received two qualified resumes, a screening committee was set up and was comprised of five individuals that provided professional insight and perspective into the role of sheriff: Dick Stump, former Darke County Sheriff’s Deputy; Cindy Pike, Darke County Clerk of Courts; Carol Ginn, Darke County Auditor; Travis Fliehman, local attorney; and myself, Darke County Republican Party Chairman.

We interviewed both candidates equally on experience, budgetary knowledge, and goals for the office. Mark Whittaker was unanimously favored as the strongest candidate, and the elected members of the Darke County Republican Central Committee affirmed this recommendation with another unanimous vote. This entire process, including the membership of the screening committee, was published in the newspaper, social media, and on the radio and could be easily researched. At no point, as he further insinuates, did any of the screening committee members know that there would be a contested primary election months down the road. Continuing on, Mr. Hensley mentions that this appointment is only through May 3, another incorrect statement, as the general election for the position of sheriff is not until November. The newly-elected sheriff will take office in January 2023.

Mr. Hensley also contends that we cannot use the term “re-elect” because Sheriff Whittaker was appointed. If he would have taken time to call the Ohio Elections Commission, a bipartisan board that handles complaints regarding Ohio’s campaign laws, he would have quickly learned that this is simply not the case. However, it is abundantly clear that Mr. Hensley does not want to actually be educated on any of this, or he would have asked. Instead, he opts to throw out baseless allegations and hopes that something sticks. His assertion that my letter intended to confuse you all is equally as unfortunate, as the voters in Darke County are smarter than he believes us to be.

In short and to use his own words, Mr Hensley’s complete lack of procedural, campaign, and election knowledge is “absolutely incredible.” I hope this clears up any confusion and reinforces my support for Sheriff Mark Whittaker.

Katie DeLand
Darke County Republican Party Chairman

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