The state GOP chairman said one of the Republican candidates has 'a history of half-truths and not keeping promises.'
By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER
SALEM -- The state's Republican Party chairman, who normally does not get publicly involved in GOP primaries, is backing one of the candidates in the 6th Congressional District race.
Bob Bennett, in a letter sent to Jerry Ward, Columbiana County Republican chairman, wrote that the state party may only assist a candidate when county parties or county chairmen endorse someone for the primary election.
To date, 10 of the 12 county parties or county chairmen in the 6th District have endorsed Mike Halleck of Salem, a former Columbiana County commissioner, for the party's nomination. The two counties not endorsing have a policy against it.
"County leadership has made clear to us Mike Halleck should be the Republican nominee for the 6th Congressional District," Bennett wrote. "I strongly agree."
In the letter, Bennett said Lyle Williams of Lordstown, a former congressman running against Halleck in Tuesday's Republican primary, has made false statements about being asked by the Republican National Committee to run for Congress.
How they differ
Bennett wrote that he checked with the RNC as well as the National Republican Congressional Committee and the White House, and was told no one at any of those places asked Williams to run.
Williams said he has never made those statements.
Williams said he has spoken to National Republican Congressional Committee officials about running for office before he announced his candidacy. They were encouraging, Williams said, but no one ever urged him to run.
In the letter to Ward, Bennett wrote that "Williams's most recent deception cannot and will not be tolerated. On an aside, I have dealt with Mr. Williams before, and unfortunately he has a history of half-truths and not keeping promises."
Williams said he has no idea what Bennett was talking about, and it's been about 15 years since he last spoke to the chairman.
Halleck officially picked up the endorsement Thursday of the Columbiana County Republican Central Committee. Ward had already endorsed Halleck for the seat.