Candice Keller and Rebecca Howard have a lot in common—both Miami University graduates, both born and raised in Butler County and both passionate about helping community members.
They differ in how they plan to help Butler County residents.
Keller is satisfied with her first full term in the Ohio House and plans to keep conservative constituents happy, which means campaigning for an end to sanctuary cities in Ohio, an end to Planned Parenthood and increased support for Second Amendment rights.
Howard is ready to rock the boat.
“We have to talk about the racism, the lies, the misinformation, the fear, and the false equivalencies that are circulating through our communities and across social media,” she said.
The 53rd District encompasses most of Butler County, including Oxford, Reily, Morgan, Trenton, Middletown and Monroe townships.
Keller is a well-known Middletown resident. She is a former executive director of the Community Pregnancy Center in Middletown, one of the largest pro-life organizations in Ohio.
In 2016, Keller and her husband, Kent, placed over 1,000 signs and plan to do the same this year.
When Keller isn’t trucking and placing signs around Butler County, she is having breakfast with constituents at Bob Evans or traveling to different parishes to advocate for “right to life” and to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Rebecca “Becky” Howard, a professor at Miami University and former business owner, has a different campaign strategy.
Without the benefit of incumbency, or the name recognition of Keller, and with Keller’s refusal to debate, Howard is working hard to keep the competition hot.
She consistently posts campaign videos on social media and on her web page, where she openly discusses her stances on a wide range of views in a straightforward kind of way. Howard is also trying to get her name out there by campaigning alongside Vanessa Enoch and Susan Vaughn, both Democrats campaigning for Ohio’s 8th Congressional District and 51st Ohio House District.
“I’m running for office because I’m fed up with politicians who are more interested in listening to their own voice in an echo chamber of agreement than listening to all of their constituents,” Howard wrote on her campaign site.
She plans to tackle child poverty and gun violence, win funding for more social support programs and advocate for a women’s right to choose.
She criticizes Keller for the latter’s criticism of efforts to remove Confederate monuments and social media attacks on young gun-control activists.