Thad Cooperrider

This file photo of Thad Cooperrider is from 2012.

THORNVILLE – The only Perry Countian to have announced that he’s running for Steve Stivers’ open congressional seat, former county Commissioner Thad Cooperrider, announced his Republican candidacy May 24 with a declaration that if he’s elected, he’ll work to continue the legacy of President Donald Trump.

“A self-proclaimed Constitutional Conservative, Thad is an ardent defender of the Second Amendment, believes life on this Earth begins at conception and ends at natural death, and proclaims Washington, D.C. has infringed on states’ rights and the personal rights of all individual Ohioans,” said a news release officially announcing Cooperrider’s bid for Congress.

Stivers, a Republican, represented Ohio’s 15th U.S. House District, which includes all of Clinton, Fairfield, Hocking, Madison, Morgan, Perry, Pickaway, and Vinton counties, and parts of Athens, Fayette, Ross and Franklin counties. He stepped down effective May 16 to take a job as president and CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, a private business lobbying group.

A special primary election will be held Aug. 3 to choose Democrat and Republican candidates who will run for the seat in a special general election Nov. 2.

Monday, May 17 was the deadline for partisan candidates to file with the Franklin County Board of Elections. Twelve candidates have filed to run as Republicans and two as Democrats. June 1 is the deadline for the Franklin County board must certify names of candidates to the elections boards in all the counties of the district.

In addition to Cooperrider, the GOP candidates include state Rep. Brian Stewart of Ashville (who recently annouced he was suspending his campaign); former state Rep. Ron Hood of Circleville; John Adams of Grove City; Mike Carey of Columbus; Eric M. Clark of London; Ruth Edmonds of Columbus; Thomas Hwang of Waverly; Stephanie Kunze of Hilliard; Jeff LaRe of Canal Winchester; Bob Peterson of Sabina; and Omar Tarazi of Hilliard.

The Democrats are Greg Betts of Hilliard and Allison Russo of Columbus.

Cooperrider describes himself as a lifelong resident of the district, who lives with his wife Janet and their two children on their family farm near Thornville.

His release said the family farms nearly 1,000 acres of crops and raises livestock, and also operate Deer Valley Farm Supply. In addition, Janet Cooperrider has managed the family’s historic tavern in Somerset for the last 30 years.

Cooperrider served two terms as Perry County Commissioner from 2001-2009. For the past 10 years, he says, he and his wife have focused on raising their family and managing the growth their business. With one of their children now 21 and taking on the farm supply business, and the other a senior in high school, Cooperrider’s release said, he views this as the right time to step back into public service. He would do so, he says, as an “unapologetic supporter” of Trump and his policies.

“Mask mandates, government orders that are not laws and career politicians advocating for men to compete in women sports are only a few of the hundreds of examples of a federal government gone array,” Cooperrider declares in his release. “All free-minded Americans need to join together and lead our nation in the proper direction.”

He adds: “Unlike many, it is not my lifelong dream to go to Washington DC, where “go along – get along” politicians have turned our Capitol into a modern-day Babylon. Liberals are overrunning our government, our schools and our institutions. In the words of the great Ronald Reagan, ‘If not now… then when? If not me… then who?’”

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