The National Organization for Women's Cincinnati chapter is backing the local Democratic Party chairman's request for an investigation into remarks allegedly made against State Rep. Denise Driehaus (D-Price Hill) by her Republican opponent.
Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairman Tim Burke has said GOP candidate Mike Robison has campaigned on Cincinnati's West Side by stating that Driehaus asked the Board of Elections to change her name on the ballot to that of her husband's, but was denied. In reality, Driehaus -- sister of Congressman Steve Driehaus -- never made such a request. Knowingly disseminating false information against a candidate violates Ohio election laws, Burke said.
Democrats believe Republicans created the tale to inject the issue of Driehaus keeping her maiden name after marriage into the campaign. The issue might alienate some voters in predominantly conservative Catholic neighborhoods.
On Monday the Board of Elections split 2-2, along party lines, on whether to approve an investigation into the allegations. Now the decision will be made by Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, also a Democrat.
NOW is urging Brunner to allow the probe, and allege some local Republicans are exploiting and encouraging outdated views about women.
"The Republicans who are spreading the lie that (Driehaus) is now trying to run in November under her married name should be prosecuted for violating Ohio election laws," said NOW Vice President Marsha Tiffany, in a prepared statement.
"Not only is the rumor mean-spirited and baseless, but it also reflects an out-of-date view of American women," Tiffany added. "Married women keep their birth names for a variety of reasons -- to honor their father or family, to prevent confusion when they have already established a professional persona or simply because they want to."
Robison has declined comment to the media about the allegations, citing the potential of an investigation; he hasn't denied the allegations to any media outlet to date.
Driehaus represents the Ohio House's 31st District. She succeeded her brother in the office, who was facing term limits. Robison, her opponent, is an employee of the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts.