CINCINNATI – An Ohio lawmaker withdrew from running for re-election Friday, a day after a prosecutor said he was the subject of an investigation.
Rep. Clayton Luckie, a Dayton Democrat who had been running for a fourth term in office, submitted a letter dropping out of the race to the Montgomery County Board of Elections without giving a reason, said Mark Owens, chairman of the county’s Democratic Party.
The development was first reported by WDTN-TV.
Luckie, a Dayton Democrat, and his attorney did not return calls seeking comment Thursday or Friday. He remains a state representative.
“I think it was an emotional thing,” Owens said of Luckie’s decision. “I think it was a very difficult decision for him to make and a brave one. ... To take this investigation out of the race gives us the best chance of holding that seat and having his constituents be served by someone that would best represent them in Columbus.”
Owens said that a meeting would be held in Dayton on Sunday to pick a replacement to run for Luckie’s seat, adding that two people have expressed interest: former state lawmakers Fred Strahorn and Rhine McLin.
Whoever is chosen will run against Iraq war veteran and Republican Jeff Wellbaum, of Kettering.
Wellbaum said that he didn’t know much about the investigation into Luckie and that he was going to keep his campaign positive.
On Thursday, Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said in a statement that Luckie was under investigation. He didn’t specify any allegations or who was conducting the investigation, saying only that the inquiry doesn’t involve bribery — an apparent reference to another Ohio state lawmaker who was convicted of bribery and other charges in June.
Luckie issued a statement Thursday reiterating that the investigation isn’t related to bribery, but to “errors on some reports that are currently being addressed.”
He did not say what types of reports had errors.
“I take these matters very seriously and have instructed my team to conduct a full review of the reports in question,” he said. “Out of respect for the process, I will not be addressing any questions until my team has completed their analysis.”
Before becoming a state representative, Luckie was on the Dayton Public School Board from 1996 to 2006.
He currently serves on the powerful state controlling board, which oversees capital and operating expenditures by Ohio agencies and has authority to approve or vote down any other state financial activities. Luckie also serves on the education and insurance committees.
In June, ex-Rep. W. Carlton Weddington pleaded guilty to bribery, election falsification and filing a false financial disclosure statement after authorities said he took trips and cash in exchange for taking steps to introduce legislation.
The Columbus Democrat resigned from office in March and surrendered to authorities.