COLUMBUS — A female constituent with whom an Ohio state lawmaker acknowledged exchanging sexually-tinged texts has launched a campaign to unseat him and threatened to release more details about their relationship if he doesn’t resign.
The unusual faceoff between Republican Rep. Rick Perales, of Beavercreek, and nurse Jocelyn Smith has exploded out of nowhere just weeks before the May 8 primary.
Perales acknowledges exchanging "flirtatious" texts with Smith in 2015. His campaign says he previously had brought the issue to GOP House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger and to his wife.
Smith has since escalated her claims, saying Perales forcibly kissed and choked her during their first meeting. Perales denied those claims and says Smith has descended into "gutter-level politics."
Rosenberger is investigating. A campaign spokesman says Perales has no plans to resign.