YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – At the same time that Poland Township Trustee Eric Ungaro is fighting his Independent status as a candidate for the Ohio House of Representatives, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose was the tie-breaking vote in allowing another candidate to run as an Independent for the same seat.

LaRose announced Wednesday that he voted against a petition to not certify the nominating petition of Gregory Beight. Beight is looking to run as an Independent for the 59th Ohio House District.

Beight’s petition was challenged on the fact that a protester said he was affiliated with the Republican Party and that his declaration as an Independent was not “in good faith.”

LaRose wrote in his decision that those who voted against Beight’s nominating petition on the Mahoning Board of Elections, namely David Betras and Joyce Kale-Pesta, erred in their reasoning that Beight had not supplied enough evidence at his hearing to support his declaration as an Independent when LaRose said it was up to the petitioner to do so, not Beight.

Board members Sandra Barger and Robert Aurandt voted in favor of Beight, creating the tie-breaker.

Beight voted a Republican ballot in the May 3, 2022 election and said he became disenfranchised after that and decided not to be aligned with either the Republican or Democratic parties on July 4, 2022.

LaRose said that he is taking Beight’s declaration as an Independent in good faith and is allowing his petition.

Beight’s candidacy and the procedures in his case are being called into evidence in the lawsuit that Ungaro has filed with the Ohio Supreme Court after the board voted against his nominating petition.