The Delaware County Board of Elections Thursday voted to deny claims that Democrat candidate for the Ohio House of Representatives, Janet Breneman, does not live in the 67th District.
Breneman is running against incumbent Andrew Brenner, R-Powell, in the Nov. 8 general election.
“I’m a concerned citizen with first-hand knowledge that Breneman does not live at that address,” said Holly Kehrer. “The address she lives at is owned by her niece.”
The challenge to Breneman’s eligibility to run for the 67th district came into question because of her traveling frequently and admittedly spending about half her time at home.
“I don’t sit at home,” Breneman said. “If someone calls to go somewhere I go.”
Amy Bush, Breneman’s niece, said Breneman lives with her on Limerick Lane in Powell. Bush said she and Breneman share a bedroom.
Kehrer said her knowledge comes from Bush’s children who spend 50 percent of their time with Bush. Bush’s former husband is Kehrer’s boyfriend.
“Her children have stated she does not stay there,” Kehrer said. “She doesn’t have a bedroom and she doesn’t store stuff there.”
Breneman said she had a desk and some everyday items at the house, but most of her belongings are in storage at a rental property. Breneman said she owns five houses that she rents to low-income families.
Kehrer claimed that Breneman has no physical place she calls home because she travels much of the time. Kehrer used Breneman’s Facebook page as evidence that she was at places other than her listed address.
“She travels a lot,” Kehrer said. “She doesn’t have a place she calls home.”
Bruce Burnworth, chair of the board, said, “The relevance of all these places were irrelevant to the board.”
Ed Helvey, a member of the board, listed many places he had been and stayed. “Out of all those places my address is still listed as Westerville,” he said.
Another board member, Shawn Stevens, asked Breneman how many nights she stayed at the Limerick address.
“Just more than 50 percent,” Breneman said. “I stay there more than anywhere else. That’s my home. It’s the only place I feel at home. I don’t like to be alone since my husband passed away.”
Board member Steve Cuckler asked Bush if Breneman received her mail at the Limerick address. Bush replied, “Yes.”
Both Breneman and Bush had lived on Timber Oak Drive in Powell, but moved earlier in the year.
Breneman said she had changed her address for all her important documents except her driver’s license. “I forgot that,” she said.
According to the board of elections records, Limerick Lane is where Breneman is registered to vote.
Once the board rendered its decision to deny Kehrer’s claim of ineligibility she said, “I respect the decision of the board. I appreciated the opportunity to be heard.”
After the hearing Breneman said she was elated with the decision. “The evidence was clear that I’m a resident of the 67th district and I’m glad it’s done,” she said.
Breneman was represented by Zach West, general counsel for the Ohio Democratic Party.
The 67th district covers two-thirds of the western portion of Delaware County.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.