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January 28th, 2010 By | News | Posted In: 2010 Election, Republicans, Campaign Finance

Montgomery: Pick Me, I'm Rich

This week’s issue of CityBeat features an article about the Ohio Republican Party’s jockeying about who exactly will be its candidate for state auditor. Now we can add yet another name to the list of potential contenders.

Robert Montgomery, the Franklin County recorder and a favorite of conservatives, has written a letter to the Republican State Central Committee detailing why he thinks he’s the best person for the job.

In the letter, sent Monday, Montgomery wrote, “The likely Democratic candidate for Auditor, David Pepper, has already raised over $300,000 as of July 2009 and will certainly have much more on hand for this filing on January 31st. Mr. Pepper comes from a very wealthy family and will be able to self-finance, if necessary, as shown in previous races. The Auditor race will be a sprint to November, with almost all attention devoted to fundraising — which is why I believe I am uniquely qualified to step right in and win this crucial Appointment Board seat for the following reasons.”

Montgomery then lists seven reasons why he’s qualified, three of which have to do with money.

He writes, “First, I have already raised over $350,000, with over $300,000 on hand in the bank. Rather than discussing this as ‘blue sky,’ or talking about my goals, attached as Exhibit A is my most recent Ohio Campaign Finance Report cover sheet proving this.

“Second, I have been able to raise significant money from and for an office that is much more difficult (Recorder) than State Auditor. I have marshaled an unprecedented ‘war chest’ for a sitting Recorder in the county seat of our state’s capital.”

Like many candidates who jump from one race to another, Montgomery could channel his war chest funds into state GOP accounts, and then into an account for an auditor’s race campaign.

Later, Montgomery adds, “Prior to entering public life when I was 31, I founded my own wireless cable company which employed over 200 people in 12 offices that operated in five states and the U.S. Virgin Islands, all while I attended law school at night. Our first year in business, we generated over $3.8 million in sales and grew to over seven million dollars in sales annually.”

Also, Montgomery touts his last name as an advantage. “Third, I have a good ballot name that has been a proven vote getter in Central Ohio where I have won previous elections where many Republicans have lost.”

Besides touting his own record, some political observers believe the passage might be a reference to Betty Montgomery, a popular fellow Republican who formerly was state auditor and state attorney general. The two aren’t related.

Although the official Franklin County Recorder’s Office letterhead is used for the pitch, there is a disclaimer at the bottom that his campaign committee paid for it and taxpayers didn’t incur any expense.

Still, the use of the letterhead — complete with the county seal — gives the appearance Montgomery is writing the document in his official capacity as recorder. That’s an odd choice as he’s stumping to run for a state office (auditor) whose function is to help keep government clean and working well.

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