In 2018, Worthington City Councilman Doug Smith will have one eye on his council duties and the other on his campaign for state office.
A councilman since 2012, Smith has declared his candidacy for the Ohio House of Representatives in the 21st House District, an office currently held by Mike Duffey (R-Worthington), who will be term-limited next year.
Duffey also is a former Worthington councilman.
Smith said he plans to run in the Republican primary in May 2018.
The filing deadline for candidates is Feb. 7.
According to the Franklin County Board of Elections, nine other people either have requested petitions or designated a campaign treasurer as of Jan. 8. They are:
• Luke Crumley, Dublin, Republican
• Andrea Donaldson, Dublin, Democrat
• Troy Doucet, Dublin, Democrat
• Brandon Grisez, Worthington, Republican
• Stuart Harris, Dublin, Republican
• Beth Liston, Dublin, Democrat
• Peter MacKenzie, Worthington, Republican
• James Mottley, Worthington, Republican
• Mindy Yocum, Dublin, Democrat
All four Dublin Democrats said they plan to run in their primary but the Republican field – which would include all the Worthington residents listed – might be much smaller than the number who have requested petitions.
Crumley, MacKenzie and Mottley said they have decided not to run and Grisez has a campaign website outlining his candidacy for Ohio's 12th Congressional District. The 12th District incumbent, Pat Tiberi (R-Genoa Township), is not running for re-election.
Harris, a Dublin City Schools board member who has been endorsed by the Franklin County Republican Party, could be Smith's only potential competition in the primary if no one else requests and files a petition.
Smith said he has been "thinking throughout the years about where I could best serve" and his ideas are "a little broader and are more on the state-policy level."
"They really stem from my experiences – personally, professionally and as a member of Worthington council," he said. "There's this cult of thinking inside the box on state policy, I think. I think what I bring to the table is more of an innovative approach to public policy and governance."
Smith is the chief operating officer of Blue Streak Strategies, a marketing-research media company. He said his campaign would be built around job creation "using innovative programs and incentives," easing policies on small businesses and working to change state adoption policies.
Despite running as a Republican, Smith said he is not looking for Duffey's support and did not ask for the endorsement of the Franklin County Republican Party.
"I'm not asking for his support and I'm not asking for the county party's support or endorsement because there are generally strings attached when you take support from people with political affiliation," Smith said. "Those are strings I'm not willing to attach to my campaign."
Duffey said although Smith's strategy is unorthodox, "it can be done."
"Obviously, the party prefers that that doesn't happen," he said, "but that's his right."
Although Duffey said he didn't want to assess Smith or his chances, Smith "certainly has a lot of energy."
Council President Bonnie Michael, who was on council when Duffey ran for the 21st District, said having a council member run for state office while serving Worthington is no issue at all.
"I have no problem with people running," she said. "I think it's completely fine."
Worthington law director Tom Lindsey said he "knows of nothing that would prevent" a council member from running for a state position in either the city's charter or state law.
He said the city's charter says council members "shall not hold an incompatible office," which is why they typically resign when elected to a different role.
Lindsey said if Smith were elected, his council vacancy would be filled by a council vote.
The newly appointed council member would serve the remainder of the term. Smith's four-year term will be up for election in November 2019.