Election 2010: Ohio Republican Candidate Tom Ganley Accused of Sexual Harassment


A longer version of this article first appeared at WomenandPolitics.org.

Tom Ganley, Republican candidate for Congress in Ohio’s 13th district, is known for a few things.  First, he’s one of the much-vaunted Young Guns, a group founded during the 2007-2008 election cycle by Congressmen Eric Cantor (R-VA), Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Paul Ryan (R-WI), to focused on identifying, recruiting, and mobilizing “a new generation of conservative leaders.”

Second, he is a multi-millionaire owner of car dealerships with an anti-choice, anti-government agenda.

And, last spring, he got a lot of press for circulating a flier suggesting that constituents in the 13th “put Congresswoman Betty Sutton (D-Ohio) back in the kitchen.” Sutton is a progressive pro-choice candidate who took over the Congressional seat originally held by now Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

Ganley didn’t win a lot of fans among women in Ohio for his kitchen-sink tactics, and now he may be losing even more support: He’s being sued for sexual assault.

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, a “39-year-old mother of four claims she met Ganley at a July 2009 Tea Party rally in downtown Cleveland, admired his anti-abortion political views and sought to volunteer for a U.S. Senate campaign he was waging before he decided to run against Sutton. She also asked him about lowering the interest rate on a Chevrolet Venture van she’d bought from his dealership.”

The lawsuit says that when she brought the van in for repairs and went to Ganley’s office to discuss a job he offered her, Ganley made unwanted sexual advances.

“He told her he would fix her car for free, provide her with a paying job, and reduce the interest rate on the financing of her Chevy Van in return for her acting basically as a prostitute and becoming sexually submissive to him,” the lawsuit says. “Plaintiff was greatly offended and was in fear of the deranged Defendant Ganley at that time, and was trapped in his office while her van was being repaired.”

According to her account, she refused his “offer of employment.”

The woman first filed a police report about the alleged incident. After an attempt at mediation failed, she filed a civil lawsuit, which was later amended to focus on employment discrimination as the statute of limitations on the original claim of sexual assault had by then expired.

Ganley’s camp has denied the charges, calling the suit an attempt at extortion.

WKYC.Com now reports that Cleveland police want to question Ganley in relation to the charges and have called Ganley’s legal team to arrange an interview.

Progress Ohio charges that the Young Guns candidates include a group “with disturbing backgrounds and legal problems.”  Ganley, according to Progress Ohio, has been sued over 400 times, including by employees who have filed a series of discrimination claims over sexual, age and racial discrimination.

Ganley’s problems appear to be boiling over just as endorsements and funding are pouring into Sutton’s campaign.

She has been endorsed by both the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Akron Beacon Journal. And she is now receiving considerable support in the form of ad buys supporting her candidacy paid for by Emily’s List, the Human Society and the National Education Association.

According to Politico, “the wave of financial assistance will help Sutton compete with Ganley who through June had funneled more than $3.4 million of his own funds into his campaign – a figure that far surpasses the $930,000 Sutton had raised for her campaign at that point.”

These effects of these ad buys may be further amplified by the fact that Ganley’s campaign has dramatically scaled back its advertising.  According to the Idaho Statesman:

A campaign spokesman for car dealership owner Tom Ganley confirmed Monday night that he has canceled hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of planned TV ads. The spokesman said Ganley is merely shifting strategies – not giving up on his congressional bid.

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