Matthew Ashworth decided to drop from the 8th Ohio Congressional District race because he didn’t want to “split the vote” to allow Speaker of the House John Boehner to win the May 6 GOP primary.
Ashworth announced Tuesday morning — a week before the primary election — he will end his bid to represent the six-county congressional district and throw his support behind fellow Liberty Twp. resident Eric Gurr.
“The reason I entered the race to replace Boehner is because I am tired of American jobs being sent overseas …,” Ashworth said in a post on his campaign’s website. “I did not get in the race to be a spoiler and split the vote among the candidates, thereby, making it easier for Boehner to be re-elected.”
Ashworth was one of three tea party-supported challengers — Gurr and J.D. Winteregg, of Troy, are the others — looking to unseat Boehner in the Republican primary. The now-former congressional candidate is supporting Gurr because he is “a good man and we agree on many issues.”
“(He) is a solid conservative and will make a great replacement to Speaker Boehner,” Ashworth said of Gurr.
Ashworth still must send written notice of his withdrawal to the Butler County Board of Elections, the largest county within the district. Once notification is received, notices will be posted on Election Day at voting locations and on voting booths indicating that Ashworth is no longer a candidate and a vote for him will not be counted.
Ashworth’s decision comes the day after it was reported that Winteregg had been fired from his teaching job at Cedarville University, a Christian-based college in Greene County. The school was no supportive of Winteregg’s political commercial he released earlier this month touting he was the “cure” to “electile dysfunction,” a reference to Bohener’s time in the House since 1991.
Winteregg is employed as a French teacher in the National Trail Local School District in New Paris.
Gurr said Ashworth contacted him Tuesday morning to let him know his intentions.
“I was pleased of course and I think it is very important,” said Gurr. “He is the third candidate to withdraw and all have endorsed me. Perhaps with the controversy swirling around the Winteregg campaign we can now focus on the issues that are so important to this race.”
Former congressional candidates Matthew Trisler and Don Carter — both men dropped from the race before election petitions were certified in early February — had also thrown their support behind Gurr.
Ashworth capped his message to supporters and voters by saying, “Let’s send Boehner packing before he can pass amnesty and retire to Florida with his millions.”