Ohio GOP chair calls for Rep. Candice Keller to quit over Dayton shooting remarks

By Catherine Candisky
The Columbus Dispatch

Ohio Republican Party Chair Jane Timken is urging the GOP’s Candice Keller to resign from her state House seat because of her “shocking and utterly unjustifiable” remarks about mass shootings over the weekend in Dayton and El Paso.

Keller, of Middletown, drew widespread criticism after she blamed the LGBTQ community, “drag queen advocates,” marijuana, video games, “snowflake” anti-Trumpers, former President Barack Obama, congressional Democrats and others for the attacks that left 32 dead.

Timken said in a statement: “While our nation was in utter shock over the acts of violence in El Paso and Dayton, Republican State Representative Candice Keller took to social media to state why she thought these acts were happening. Candice Keller’s Facebook post was shocking and utterly unjustifiable.

“Our nation is reeling from these senseless acts of violence, and public servants should be working to bring our communities together, not promoting divisiveness. I am calling on Candice Keller to resign.”

Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones, a Republican, tweeted: “Candice Keller should resign at once. Shame. Shame.”

Republican Attorney General Dave Yost joined the condemnation of the GOP legislator, tweeting “No, m’am. The blame belongs to the evil man who killed those people.”

Middletown Police Chief Rodney Muterspaw also distanced himself from Keller.

“I was born in Middletown, raised in Middletown, live in Middletown. This isn’t Middletown. We’ve gotten all kinds of responses to this, and please understand, our city is a diverse, hardworking, genuine caring city that does some great things. This is one person’s opinion only,” Muterspaw tweeted.

Drag queen Nina West got into the act, tweeting: “Ms. Keller, your time is up. RESIGN.”

Keller has drawn national attention after her Facebook post, which she since deleted It said in part: “After every mass shooting, the liberals start the blame game. Why not place the blame where it belongs?”

Responding to Timken’s remarks, Keller, who is running for the state Senate next year, said in a statement to The Cincinnati Enquirer: “Establishment moderates have never been fans of mine because I ran against their endorsement and won. As the only conservative in this race, I will be taking my Senate campaign to the voters to decide.”

This is not the first time that Keller has been criticized for remarks following a mass shooting. Keller told gun rights advocates in 2018 that survivors of the attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, who were calling for gun control should be dismissed

Keller told a Statehouse gun-rights rally: “A month ago, we weren’t really having this conversation, and all of a sudden, a 15-year-old on television who would just as soon be eating Doritos and playing video games wants to tell me that my Constitution needs to be changed. Really?”

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