Highland County Commissioner Shane Wilkin announced Wednesday that he is seeking the Republican nomination for state representative of the 91st District.
Wilkin filed his petitions with the Highland County Board of Elections on Tuesday, and made his announcement at a campaign kickoff event Wednesday evening at Alley 21 in Hillsboro with about 100 people present.
As previously reported, Wilkin and Clinton County businesswoman Beth Ellis will run against each other for the Republican nomination in the May 2018 primary.
Ellis’ announcement last year that she was a candidate for the seat included an endorsement from Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville), who currently represents the 91st District but is term limited.
In regard to Rosenberger’s backing of Ellis, Wilkin said Wednesday that he is seeking the endorsement of the people of the 91st District rather than an endorsement from Columbus.
The 91st District is comprised of Clinton, Highland and Pike counties and a southeast portion of Ross County.
Wilkin is in his 10th year as a county commissioner, having been re-elected in 2016 to his third term. He is a 1988 graduate of Lynchburg-Clay High School, a licensed real estate agent and a small business owner of a carry-out store on Muntz Street in Hillsboro.
He has long taken the lead on the commission on economic development issues, frequently attending meetings in Columbus and elsewhere, and serving as the commission’s primary liaison with state and federal leaders.
The Highland County Republican Party voted to endorse Wilkin, according to party chair Paulette Donley. Also endorsed were incumbent Congressman Brad Wenstrup and the gubernatorial ticket of Mike DeWine and Jon Husted.
The Clinton County Republican Central Committee endorsed Ellis, who manages her family’s business, Cherrybend Pheasant Farm, and serves in leadership roles on a number of boards in the area.
Ellis is also the vice chair of the Clinton County Port Authority.
She lives with her husband and two children on their farm in the Sabina area.
In other filings made public Wednesday, Democrat Justin Grimes of New Vienna also seeks the 91st District seat. He is unopposed for his party’s nomination.
John Knauf, a Democrat, will run against incumbent Republican Jeff Duncan for Highland County commissioner in the November 2018 General Election.
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.