Indiana State Senate candidate calls for St. Joseph County GOP chair to resign

Roy Saenz, charman of the St. Joseph County Republican Party, speaks during a press conference Monday, July 11, 2016. (Photo Supplied/ABC 57)

A St. Joseph County man running for Indiana State Senate is calling for the chairman of the St. Joseph County Republican Party to resign after two disputes at the St. Joseph County 4-H Fair led to the party pulling support for his candidacy.

Gerard Arthus, a Republican running for the District 10 seat in the state senate race, said Roy Saenz should step down because he colluded with fair officials to “put into motion the defamation of names of candidates running for (60th) Circuit Court Judge and State Senate District 10.”

Arthus is referring to judge candidate Doug Bernacchi and himself, respectively. Both Bernacchi and Arthus were asked to leave the fair last week after they each asked a county GOP volunteer why their names weren’t included on the party’s banner at the fair.

Bernacchi has since said that he left because he was physically ill after eating sugary fair food. Arthus said he was asked to leave and filed a report about the incident with the St. Joseph County Police Department.

Arthus said Saenz is not treating all Republicans running for public office in St. Joseph County equally. He claimed in a comment left on a 95.3 MNC story that Saenz ran against Arthus in the primary in an effort to get Arthus off the ballot.

“They do not like that I refuse to take any money from people or businesses doing business with the state or county governments,” he wrote.

Saenz announced in a press conference Monday that the St. Joseph County Republican Party’s executive committee voted unanimously to no longer support Bernacchi or Arthus in their races.

“We came to the conclusion that their behavior (at the fair) was inappropriate. If the fair had to kick them out, it’s probably not a good sign of good leadership as well,” Saenz told our news partners ABC 57. The 4-H Fair was not the platform to show any type of discontent or further this type of agenda.

Further, Saenz said that Arthus has “never been a paying member of the Republican Party.”

“He has utilized the Republican Party to try and further challenging the anti-fusion laws that exist here in Indiana and in many other states,” he said.

Arthus arrived at the county GOP headquarters for the press conference Monday morning but was escorted away by police, Saenz said.

Arthus said he intends to sue the St. Joseph County Republican Party and would donate any money he got from the lawsuit to charity.

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