Ohio Republican Leader Calls on Lawmaker to Resign Over Comments About Dayton Mass Shooting

August 6, 2019 Updated: August 6, 2019

The leader of the Ohio Republican Party said that state Rep. Candice Keller, a Republican, should resign over her comments in the wake of the Aug. 4 mass shooting in Dayton.

Keller said on Facebook after the attack that she wanted to “place the blame where it belongs.”

She went on to list about a dozen reasons she feels had led to the mass shootings in recent years, including “the breakdown of the traditional American family … fatherlessness … violent video games … hatred of our veterans … the Dem Congress, many members whom are openly anti-Semitic.”

Jane Timken, the leader of the Ohio GOP, said on Monday that Keller should step down from office.

“While our nation was in utter shock over the acts of violence in El Paso and Dayton, Republican State Representative Candice Keller took to social media to state why she thought these acts were happening,” Timken said in a statement sent to news outlets.

“Candice Keller’s Facebook post was shocking and utterly unjustifiable. Our nation is reeling from these senseless acts of violence and public servants should be working to bring our communities together, not promoting divisiveness.”

Keller said in a statement that she would not heed Timken’s call.

“Establishment moderates have never been fans of mine because I ran against their endorsement and won. As the only conservative in this race, I will be taking my Senate campaign to the voters to decide,” she said, reported the Cincinnati Enquirer. When asked by the Dayton Daily News, Keller said she posted something to her private, personal Facebook page but said the statement may have been altered at some point.

Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones was among the others calling for Keller to resign.

“It’s very embarrassing. She doesn’t represent the people in her community with those comments,” Jones told the Enquirer. “She’s made a laughingstock out of Butler County, which is a shame.”

Keller does not have to step down but could be removed with a vote of two-thirds of the state House or under a clause in the state Constitution that says officials can be removed for “misconduct involving moral turpitude” following a complaint and hearing.

Keller, as she referenced, is running for a state Senate seat. Sen. Bill Coley, who currently holds the seat, cannot run for re-election due to term limits.

Authorities work at the scene of a mass shooting, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Keller faces a number of challengers, including state Rep. George Lang and West Chester Township Trustee Lee Wong.

In a statement, Butler County Democratic Party Chairman Brian Hester said that Keller “loves to fan the flames and play the role of victim here, not the nine people who were killed.”

“She is fundamentally unfit for office. She is an embarrassment to her party, to conservatives, to Butler County, and to the state Legislature,” he said, reported the Dayton Daily News.

Keller’s post and calls for her to resign came after a gunman, identified by police as 24-year-old Connor Betts, opened fire outside a bar, killing nine people and leaving over two dozen others injured. Betts was shot dead by responding officers.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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