Ohio State Rep. Who Blamed Dayton Mass Shooting on Same-Sex Marriage, Introduced Abortion Bills, Loses GOP Primary for State Senate Seat

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Ohio State Rep. Who Blamed Dayton Mass Shooting on Same-Sex Marriage, Introduced Abortion Bills, Loses GOP Primary for State Senate Seat
Rep. Candice Keller, Ohio House of Representatives

One of the most controversial figures in Ohio's General Assembly won't be back next term after a sound defeat in a Republican primary contest for a state Senate seat.

Two-term State Rep. Candice Keller of Middletown lost to challenger State Rep. George Lang in a three-way primary race, according to unofficial results from the Butler County Board of Elections. Lang garnered 12,339 votes — 49.5 percent — to Keller's 8,107 in his bid to be the Republican nominee in the general election for the state's 4th Senate District. Third place finisher Lee Wong scored 4,471 votes.

Keller has found herself at the center of political fights multiple times since she was first elected in 2016 — often due to her own controversial statements.

Keller, who introduced the proposed abortion ban that suggested doctors re-implant ectopic pregnancies, once compared Planned Parenthood to the Nazi Party, appeared on a radio program hosted by a white supremacist and, last August, blamed President Barack Obama, same sex marriage and drag queens for the deadly mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio.

The Ohio GOP called on Keller to step down after the latter statement, and in January announced it would endorse Lang instead.

Lang will go on to face Democrat Kathy Wyenandt in the November general election. The two faced off in 2018 in a race for the Ohio House of Representatives seat Lang currently occupies. He won that contest by more than 9,000 votes.

Ohio's primary election was originally supposed to wrap up with in-person voting March 17, but a last-minute order by Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health closing polls amid concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in an extension of absentee voting until April 28.
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