Wedding's Candidacy Challenged in Special NKY Statehouse Race
The Republican nominee in the special election in House District 67 is seeing her candidacy challenged by a Campbell County Democrat.
Mary Jo Wedding was nominated by the Campbell County Republican Party earlier this month and will face Democratic nominee Rachel Roberts in the special election on February 25.
The seat opened up when longtime Democratic State Rep. Dennis Keene, of Wilder, vacated the seat to take the position of Commissioner of the Department of Local Government in the administration of Governor Andy Beshear.
James Cole, of Southgate, submitted a challenge to Wedding's residency this week.
House District 67 encompasses northern Campbell Co. and its river cities. Wedding's campaign announced her as a resident of in Bellevue, but Cole, in his motion to have Wedding disqualified, alleges that Wedding does not meet the legal requirements to be on the ballot.
He argues that Wedding is a resident of Falmouth, in Pendleton County, which is not part of the House District. "Wedding has listed what is believed to be a false or fraudulent residence address on her campaign filings, that being 163 Foote Avenue, Bellevue, Kentucky 41073 in Campbell County, Kentucky," the complaint reads. Cole argues that a business filing submitted to the state by Wedding includes a home address outside the district and that a hand-written filing to the Secretary of State's office indicates a Falmouth address.
Wedding's business now uses a Highland Heights post office box as its address, according to a secretary of state filing. That address is in House District 68, Cole notes.
"Defendant Wedding’s campaign website says that she enjoys spending time with her husband of 18 years (Gary)," the complaint reads. "Gary has listed his address in public records as an apartment at 28 Rio Grande Circle, Florence, Kentucky and at the farm the parties reside on in Falmouth, Kentucky. Neither address is within House District 67."
When reached for comment by The River City News, a spokesperson for the wedding campaign responded with a statement.
"Republican candidate Mary Jo Wedding is a resident of the 67th House District and meets the legal requirements required by the Kentucky State Constitution and State Statutes. To say otherwise is false and should be viewed as a weak political attack meant to delegitimize Mary Jo Wedding’s campaign," Sebastian Torres, the campaign's political affairs manager, said in the statement.
“Baseless claims like this are why good people do not want to enter politics," Torres said. "This complaint is a weak political attack attempting to throw mud across the aisle. The evidence that will be presented in court will show how frivolous this dirty campaign tactic is."
"Mary Jo Wedding was raised in Newport and is a current resident of Bellevue. Wedding is a successful business owner whose company, located in Campbell County, has served the small business community throughout Northern Kentucky since 2002. Wedding is happily married and has two children. After raising her children, Wedding went on to create and manage a successful small business in Campbell County."
The February 25 election will determine who serves the remaining time on Keene's unexpired term. The seat is also up for regular election this year. Roberts is expected to be the Democratic nominee following the primary election on May 19. Wedding will have to run in a contested primary on the Republican side as Southgate city councilwoman LeAnna Homandberg filed to run.
-Michael Monks, editor & publisher
Photo: Mary Jo Wedding (provided)