Veteran Senator makes controversial comments about mom opponent

Veteran Senator makes controversial comments about mom opponent
Jennifer Harold. (Source: Herold for Ohio Facebook Page)
Jennifer Harold. (Source: Herold for Ohio Facebook Page)

STRONGSVILLE, OH (WOIO) - Ohio State Senator Tom Patton made some controversial comments in a recent radio interview that his opponent for a seat in the Ohio House shouldn't run because she has two small children.

Senator Patton said the comments on Jan. 18, during the "America's Work Force Radio Show" hosted by Ed Ferenc on AM 1490 WERE.

About a half-hour into the show, Patton said, "The gal that's running against me, is a 30-year-old, you know mom, mother of 2 infants, and uh-I don't know if anyone explained to her you gotta spend three nights a week in Columbus, so how does that work out for you? I waited until I was 48 and my kids were raised, and at least adults before we took the uh, opportunity to try."

Listen to the full clip here

Patton is referring to his opponent in the primary election, Jennifer Herold. Both are running for the Republican nomination for House District 7.

Herold responded to Patton's comments on her Facebook page, saying that Patton "questioned her intelligence" and implied she was "precluded from running for office" until her children were grown.

The candidate spoke with reporter Sara Goldenberg about what happened, saying, "I don't think it would've been said had it been my husband running with two young kids at home."

Herold and her husband Rob are raising two young sons, 3-year-old Benjamin and 1-year-old Alex. She's also a pediatric occupational therapist.

"First and foremost I'm a mom, which is amazing," Herold said. She doesn't think any of that holds her back from running.

"I think it's my greatest strength, to be able to have kids and a family. It spurs me to do the best that I can. And I would only want to do the best that I can for everyone else," she said.

Cleveland 19 News reached out to Senator Patton's office for comment, and we were sent the following statement:

"As a widower who raised five daughters, it was not my intention to suggest that a young mother couldn't serve ably in the legislature, I used a poor choice of words to express what I know first-hand - raising young children and working is tough. Millions of women do just that every day, including my own daughters. I would ask to be judged on my hard work and advocacy for working families. I sincerely apologize if my words were misplaced on this matter."

Herold isn't going to harbor any hard feelings.

"I very much respect Tom Patton. I hope that this conversation can just kind of spur on positivity," Herold said.

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