I’m writing in reference to recent allegations that have been raised in the race for county Common Pleas Court judge. I am not an attorney or a politician, however, for the past 13 years I have served on the Columbiana County Republican Central Committee representing Butler Township north precinct. Seven of those years I sat on the board of elections with Dave Johnson, and though we are friends and die-hard conservatives, I speak my own mind and Dave knows it.

As far as the judge’s race goes, way back in January Megan Bickerton came to a Republican committee meeting and expressed interest in running for Common Pleas judge as a Republican in the primary. At a later meeting, Chairman Johnson gave Mrs. Bickerton and Judge Pike equal opportunity to speak to the committee. At no time did he express any positive or negative opinions about either of the two. Dave Johnson has never given any opinions of any candidate up for endorsement at a central committee meeting in all the years I have been serving.

Judge Pike went over his accomplishments but mostly his displeasure with the leadership of the Republican Party. He went so far as to suggest that, if elected, Mrs. Bickerton would just be a “pawn” in a chess game. Mrs. Bickerton stayed calm. She described her experience as an assistant county prosecutor and laid out her plans for a drug court.

A secret ballot was taken and the results favored with Mrs. Bickerton. The party endorsed her fair and square.

That should have been the end of the story, but it wasn’t. Recently Judge Pike has been contacting elected county officials and even private citizens, chastising them for supporting Mrs. Bickerton. I have spoken to several of these officials and I know the pressure that is being put upon them. Being on the board of elections for seven years, I also know that judicial races are held to a higher standard in both the way they are funded and the way the campaigns are conducted. Based upon this experience, I think Judge Pike has crossed the line.

I may just be an old dairy farmer from Butler Township, but this election is pretty darn important. And having dignity and temperament are important qualities in a judge. How is it that they could be so absent in the conduct of the sitting judge and so much alive in his young opponent?

James Beardsley