A residency challenge has been filed against one of the candidates for Delaware County’s newly created Domestic Relations Court judge position.
The challenge alleges that Christopher Geer does not own property in Delaware County, but owns a home in Franklin County. Geer, who was a Franklin County judge from 2007 to 2012, lost his re-election bid in 2012.
The complaint was filed by Jim Hoyt, a Delaware County registered voter.
“Delaware County should not become a backup plan where Franklin County candidates come to run for office because they cannot get elected in Franklin County,” Hoyt said in a statement. “Our county has many well-qualified people who have lived and raised their families here. Many have worked tirelessly for the benefit of Delaware County and the state.”
Geer, 67, said he has rented an apartment in Powell for nine months, prior to the judgeship being signed into law in October. He said his wife is living at a Columbus address to care for her ailing mother. The couple may eventually own property in Orange Township, he said.
“I’ve joined thousands of central Ohioans moving into Delaware County because it’s a great place to live, and I believe it’s the future of central Ohio,” Geer said. “My home is here. I eat, sleep, work from my home and get my mail here. I vote here. My driver’s license is from Delaware County. I’m registered with the Supreme Court of Ohio as being a Delaware County resident. I’m a member of the Delaware County Bar Association.”
Geer’s campaign website said he is a “conservative Republican” with 37 years of experience as a lawyer, 32 in domestic relations law. He is currently with the Columbus law firm of Isaac, Wiles, Burkholder & Teetor, LLC.
“Quite frankly, I feel like this is backrooms dealings by good old boys seeking to limit voters’ choices on Election Day,” Geer said. “That’s exactly why so many people are cynical about the political process. There’s nothing more desperate than a last-minute political hit job to deflect the real issues in the race, such as my having been a judge.”
A hearing regarding the complaint won’t take place until after the March 15 primary, said Karla Herron, Delaware County Board of Elections deputy director.
“If there is a challenge filed after the 30th day before an election, the board has the discretion to postpone until after the election,” Herron said. “But they must hold the hearing within 10 days after the election. It’ll have to be before March 25.”
Geer’s opponent in the March 15 primary is Randall D. Fuller. The vice president of the Delaware County Bar Association, Fuller, 46, was educated at Buckeye Valley High School, Ohio State University and the Toledo College of Law. He has more than 20 years of managing a domestic relations practice in Delaware County. He is endorsed by the county’s Republican Party.
“I am a lifelong resident of Delaware County,” Fuller states on his campaign website.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.