(WKBN) – The Columbiana County Board of Elections plans to hold a meeting next week regarding the candidacy of John Gamble for county prosecutor.
The county’s Democratic Party chose Gamble to face Republican Vito Abruzzino in November after Robert Herron withdrew from the race.
A protest filed by James Beardsley, of Damascus, questions the legitimacy of Gamble’s name on the ballot, however. He has requested an evidentiary hearing by the county’s Board of Elections.
Beardsley is questioning what he says is a lack of a time-stamped indicia from the Columbiana County Board of Elections on a form regarding Gamble’s candidacy. He questions whether the form was filed in the time allotted.
Board of Elections Director Bryce Miner confirmed that the board met in executive session Friday regarding Gamble’s candidacy and that board members decided to hold a hearing next week on the filed protest.
Meanwhile, Gamble pleaded not guilty Friday to charges related to an alleged violation of the state’s Little Hatch Act.
The misdemeanor charges of complicity came due to classified police officers from East Liverpool appearing on Gamble’s campaign Facebook page.
Court documents detail that Gamble appeared on the courthouse steps with police officers from several departments with a caption reading: “Over 500 years of law enforcement experience standing with John Gamble. They have his back in the election because he’s had their backs for the last 30 years.”
A spokesman for Attorney General David Yost said they warned Gamble about the issue before charges were filed, saying the law requires civil service members to be apolitical.
Gamble sent WKBN a written statement claiming what he and the officers did is protected under the First Amendment and not illegal.
His preliminary hearing on the charges was set for September 2.