The Campbell County Republican Party issued a censure of County Clerk Jim Luersen in December.
It also sought to remove its Board of Elections member, Jim Schroer, through a resolution passed at a Dec. 15 meeting.
Censures are symbolic, and the county party can request the state party to remove a Board of Elections member but can’t do it itself.
The party issued the resolution at the meeting over an electioneering case overturned by the Kentucky Court of Appeals in September involving Campbell County Commission Brian Painter and his Republican opponent Dave Fischer in the May primary.
Luersen said he attended the County Republican Party meeting and the resolution was emailed to voting members ahead of the meeting. Because he’s not a voting member, he didn’t receive a copy. A voting member requested the resolution be read at the meeting, but was told it wasn’t necessary, according to Luersen, and no paper copies were present to be read.
“The resolution was pushed through very secretly,” Luersen said. “It was never read. My name was never mentioned once at the meeting.”
Further, he said the entire process lasted about two minutes.
“I was never given an opportunity to say anything or nor was anyone to say anything on my behalf,” Luersen said, adding that the whole thing was “strange” and “bizarre.”
The CCRP also wants Attorney General Daniel Cameron to convene a special grand jury to determine if there was any wrongdoing.
“The Attorney General’s Office investigated and found no criminal activity for the party to refer to whatever agenda they have,” Luersen said.
Party Chair Anna Zinkhon requested that Jim Schroer resign in December over the alleged electioneering in the May Primary.
Luersen said there is no reason for Schroer’s name to be on the resolution, and they’re just dragging his name “through the mud.”
“Jim Schroer has nothing to do with what happened, and he’s the most conscientious, best Republican Board Member we’ve had since I’ve been in office,” Luersen said.
Since Schroer didn’t resign, the party issued the resolution, according to Zinkhon.
“[Zinkhon] threatened that things would get ugly if I didn’t resign,” Schroer said.
Zinkhon is referring to the electioneering case involving Campbell County Commissioner Brian Painter. In September, the Kentucky Supreme Court decided it would not hear a case involving Painter and his opponent Dave Fischer.
Fischer alleged that Painter engaged in illegal electioneering when Painter distributed campaign materials at an event for poll workers when early voting had already started.
A Jefferson County judge agreed, vacating Painter’s win, tossing him from the ballot, and replacing him with Fischer.
Painter’s campaign appealed, and the Kentucky Court of Appeals overturned the lower court’s ruling.
The defense from County Clerk Jim Luersen and Painter in the case was that the practice of passing out materials at the courthouse has been occurring for years, Zinkhon said, elaborating that Schroer has been in that role since 2021.
It’s “unacceptable in his position” to allow this behavior, she said.
Painter expressed regret for handing out election materials at the event, calling it a mistake, but arguing that there were 19 poll workers at the training on May 4 at the Campbell County Fiscal Court building and that the early voting machine was on a different floor.
“I didn’t know it was up there,” Painter told LINK nky in September. “Our building is huge. It got overlooked by the other folks in the room, too,” he said. “When I put my information down, (the poll workers) really shouldn’t have seen that information because (the election machine) was in the building, but at no point did any of those pamphlets get out of the training room.”
Luersen said his office tries to do the best for Campbell County voters, but they had a technical violation in the May primary.
“I feel terrible about it, and it gives the appearance of unfairness, and we go out of our way not to do that,” Luersen said. “It was a technical violation that affected 19 voters — it went through the court of appeals, and the supreme court decided it wasn’t enough to turn over any election results.”