ATHENS, Ohio (WCMH) – An Athens County lawyer is taking her Ohio House race to the state’s highest court after Secretary of State Frank LaRose ruled that her name wouldn’t appear on the November ballot.
Tanya Conrath, 51, was approached by the Athens County Democratic Party in August to serve as a substitute nominee. The opening came when Rhyan Goodman – who originally filed from his dorm room address at Ohio University and ran unopposed – withdrew from the race six days after the Aug. 2 primary.
After the Athens County Board of Elections voted 2-2, reportedly along party lines, on whether to certify Conrath as a candidate, LaRose was asked to break the tie. In a letter last Tuesday, the Republican secretary of state voted no.
Conrath filed a complaint Friday with the Ohio Supreme Court to try to continue her campaign in District 94, which covers several southeastern Ohio counties, including Athens, Meigs, Morgan, and part of Washington.
LaRose’s decision centered on several dates connected to the August primary. Ohio had two primaries in 2022 after multiple sets of legislative maps were approved by the state’s redistricting committee but then rejected by the Ohio Supreme Court for favoring Republicans too strongly.
LaRose wrote that because the election had yet to be canvassed, Goodman was not the party nominee when he requested to withdraw.
“The unofficial canvass on Election Night, by definition, produces unofficial results,” the letter read.
LaRose declined to comment beyond what was outlined in the letter. He cast several other tiebreaking votes in certifications this week, according to his office’s website.
Conrath is an Athens High School graduate who moved back to the area with her high school sweetheart after she graduated from Ohio State University’s law school. She said she thought she was left with two choices: “throw in the towel and be done,” or to try to change the outcome. She went with the latter, saying she has felt compelled in recent months to run for public office.
“I’ve always been frustrated by how southeast Ohio is treated in Columbus,” Conrath said.
Rep. Jay Edwards, the incumbent GOP candidate who also ran unopposed in his primary, did not respond to a request for comment. Since Edwards would be going into his fourth and final two-year term, Conrath said she sees a future run, even if her name isn’t on the November ballot, which has to be finalized by Friday.