Blue Ash City Councilman Rick Bryan seeks reelection -- and a seat at Statehouse

Dual candidacy draws fire from OH-28 opponent

BLUE ASH, Ohio -- Rick Bryan is on the November ballot seeking reelection to Blue Ash City Council, but he already is eyeing his next political move.

Bryan, a Republican, will announce Tuesday he is seeking the GOP nomination to run for the Ohio House 28th District seat in 2014.

Right now, however, Bryan is running unopposed to return for another two-year term as Ward 3 councilman in Blue Ash on Nov. 5.

That means if he also wins the May 6 primary, along with the November 2014 general election, he would have to leave the City Council seat halfway through his next term to serve in Columbus.

The situation has drawn the ire of Bryan’s opponent in the GOP primary, West Chester attorney Jonathan Dever.

“I think it’s unfortunate for the citizens of Blue Ash,” Dever said. “Normally, I’d say let the voters decide what they think (of Bryan’s actions) but he is running unopposed.”

Bryan, who has served on Blue Ash City Council since 1995, doesn’t consider the dual campaigns to be a detriment.

“That is something we certainly acknowledge going into this,” Bryan said. “After 18 years on City Council, I think I have developed skills that could be put to good use in the statehouse.

“If I am successful in both of these races then, yes, I would have to leave City Council after 10 ½ terms,” he added.

Bryan, 63, is a retired executive from Procter & Gamble and a former lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army. Also, he is director of Cancer Support Community, a nonprofit serving people affected by cancer in the 15-county region.

Dever, 40, is a first-time candidate who has been involved in Republican Party activities. A Montgomery native and eighth generation Ohioan, he is an adjunct law professor at the University of Cincinnati.

At least one of Bryan’s colleagues, Blue Ash Vice Mayor Lee Czerwonka, doesn’t see any problem with running for two offices at once.

“When seeking to serve, many candidates for office are forced into situations where they find themselves on the ballot in ways that may seem inconvenient,” said Czerwonka, who also is president of the Blue Ash Republican Club.

“Vice presidential candidates have run to for vice president and Congress or Senate in the same election.  Countless officeholders have sought to serve the people, and timing of campaigns is not always friendly to that,” he added. “Rick Bryan understands the importance of fully informing voters about his choice to run in the future.”

Hamilton County Republican Party Chairman Alex Triantafilou declined comment.

His counterpart, Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairman Tim Burke, said voters would have to decide if the strategy is an acceptable one.

“It is a certainly unusual, though not unheard of, to announce a candidacy for a different office while running for another one,” Burke said. “The voters of Blue Ash and ultimately the 28th House District will have to decide if they like that idea.”

Area Republicans are relishing the chance at reclaiming the 28th District seat from Democrat Connie Pillich. Now in her third term, Pillich isn’t seeking reelection, opting instead to run for Ohio treasurer.

Pillich is a U.S. Air Force veteran who first won the House seat in 2008, helped partially by the surge in Democratic voters attracted by Barack Obama's candidacy.

Since then, she won two challenges from Republican Mike Wilson, founder of the Cincinnati Tea party.

This year Democrats are fielding newcomer Micah Kamrass to succeed Pillich.

“He is currently completing Ohio State Law School, where as an undergraduate he served as student body president,” Burke said. “He has already raised over $50,000 for his campaign.”

The 28th District mostly covers northern Hamilton County. It includes communities like Blue Ash, Kenwood, Madeira, Montgomery and North College Hill.

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