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FIRST ON FOX: The father of a Democratic congressional candidate from Ohio sits on the commission that helped draw the neighborhood where his daughter runs.
Ohio State Senator Vernon Sykesa Democrat, sits as co-chair of the Ohio Redistricting Commission, the body tasked with creating the new congressional map if the state legislature fails to do so.
However, there appears to be a conflict of interest in Sykes’ work with the commission: His daughter, former state Rep. Emilia Sykes, is running for Congress this cycle.
Young Sykes, the former State House Minority Leader, announced she would run for Congress in January 2022 while her father served on the committee.
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The legislature’s map passed but was ultimately overturned by the Ohio Supreme Court, sending the map to the currently GOP-led commission.
After the legislature map was overturned, Vernon did not recuse himself from the commission after his daughter announced her candidacy, instead continuing to co-chair the body as he redesigned the congressional maps that will be in play for a decade.
Additionally, Vernon Sykes unsuccessfully presented another card in March 2022 that would have made the district his daughter run for the Democrats.
Emilia herself also served on the committee before announcing her candidacy for Congress and voted against the initial map proposed by the state legislature.
The elder Sykes told Fox News Digital that “the Ohio Redistricting Commission Republicans drew this map.”
“I voted against it because he gerrymanders Ohio,” the Ohio state senator said.
Sykes’ office declined to comment further in response to follow-up questions about whether the senator believed there was a conflict of interest in voting on the Congressional card and presenting his own card.
Emilia Sykes’ campaign spokeswoman Samantha Herd sued Republican candidate Madison Gesiotto Gilbert in response to questions from Fox News Digital, accusing the GOP candidate of “using desperate attacks” on the Sykes.
“It’s no surprise that Madison is already resorting to desperate attacks on Emilia’s family because she doesn’t want voters to know that she has been buying and selling homes in multiple districts because she cares. more about being in Congress than actually helping the people of 13th,” the herd said.
Even with her father’s role in the redistricting, the resulting district in which young Sykes runs to replace incumbent Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, is a toss-up in an election year heavily favoring Republicans.
Young Sykes faces off against Gilbert, a former Trump administration looking to tip the seat red.
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The connection to former President Donald Trump could be a big boon for Gilbert ahead of the election as national attitudes toward Democrats sour.
Nothing is guaranteed in politics, however, and the Sykes’ role in crafting the Congressional map may pay off yet to be seen.
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