The Springfield 1 Anti-Gearing Letter: Airhead or

When the "Friends of Tim Mahoney," the Democratic state legislator's political committee, paid
for the publication and mailing last week of a few versions of the same letter to solicit county
Republicans to help re-elect him in the 51st District, some mouths dropped, tongues wagged and
letters across the county were compared for similarities and differences.

While Mahoney's campaign committee did not invent this type of cross-party politicking to lure
Republican voters away from voting for Republican Gary Gearing, something about one particular
version of the letter, signed by four mountain area elected officials from the Springfield 1
precinct area, stuck out like a sore thumb to some who received or read it.

One of the signatures, that of a woman named Roxanne Kern, bore the title of Republican
Committee Woman.

Only problem is that Kern is
not a Republican Committee Woman here in Fayette County.  

Russ Rhodes, Fayette County Republican Party Chairman, said today that he has never met the
woman. Nor has his predecessor, Mike Hosier, who served as party chairman in 2010, contacted by
phone today, ever met her.

Since the last election of committee women and committee men in 2010, Rhodes said, "Our
secretary has no record of her ever serving in this capacity or even attending a meeting." He
added that records of the bi-monthly party meetings, prior to Hosier's leadership, either were
not maintained or were not passed on to Hosier two years ago.

The most that anyone can confirm is that Kern once received a few write in votes for committee

Had Kern received the most write-in votes, Rhodes said that she would have received a follow-up
letter from the election bureau asking whether she wanted to accept the seat. A write-in winner
would then have had to sign the letter of acceptance and return it to the election bureau.

"We have no record of her doing so," he said.

Exactly how or why Kern's incorrect title as party committee woman appears on the Anti-Gearing
letter is unknown. If she actually were a party committee woman, Kern would be in violation of
Republican Committee By-Laws that prohibit support for a non-Republican candidate.

While it is unknown whether Kern's incorrect use of a title was deliberate on her part or added by
someone else for whatever reason, one has to wonder how a Republican Springfield Township
supervisor, two Republican Stewart Township supervisors and a Republican Springfield Township
Secretary/Treasurer, who also signed the Anti-Gearing letter, did not catch the misstatement of
Kern's role in the Republican party and insist that she be listed only as a business owner or private
citizen on the letter. Shouldn't
someone have noticed?

There seems to be more opinions out there, from people who take free elections and ethics
seriously, that it was done deliberately to falsely impress voters with the title and seal of
approval, than there are custom versions of the Anti-Gearing letter sent to Republicans in
different precincts across Fayette County.

While this column has no specific knowledge about the circumstances surrounding the missue of the
title of party committee woman on Kern's signature line, we have asked the state for legal opinion
as to whether it may or may not constitute an unlawful attempt to influence an election. We will
share that information as it becomes known.

Until then, lets just say that it all sucks and should not have happened.  

If Kern didn't falsely state her credentials herself on the letter to Republicans, shame, shame on
someone else, who might have added the title, intentionally or not, since lists of party committee
women and committee men are easily available for the asking at the county election bureau.  

24 Apr 12
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