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The “nonpartisan” Ohio Debate Commission, formed in 2018 to ensure “fair and substantive debates” between candidates in the state, is being run by a Democrat with a long history of anti-Republican rhetoric and activism.
An investigation by Fox News Digital found that the commission’s executive director, Jill Miller Zimon, in addition to unsuccessfully running as a Democrat in multiple state House elections, frequently attacked Republicans over pro-life policies and engaged in activism targeting the late-conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, as well as in support of Democratic candidates, since at least 2009.
Zimon’s partisan history elicited strong reaction from the campaign of Ohio Republican Senate nominee J.D. Vance, who is locked in a tight race against Rep. Tim Ryan, the Democratic nominee for Senate.
Prior to her two failed state House runs in 2014 and 2016, Zimon became popular blogging about Limbaugh and what she referred to as his “record of saying sexist, misogynistic things about women.”
According to a 2009 article by Women’s eNews, Zimon’s blog, “Writes Like She Talks,” monitored Limbaugh, and covered “everything from casinos to media treatment of women.” It also noted that Zimon identified herself as “left of center politically.”
During her campaigns for the state House, Zimon was endorsed by a number of left-wing organizations, including Planned Parenthood, EMILY’s List, Progressive Majority, the Ohio AFL-CIO, and a number of other state-level Democratic affiliated organizations. She was also endorsed by Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.
According to Rewire News Group, Zimon also serves on the board of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio. In addition to that position, and further cementing her left-wing alignment, she has a history of tweeting criticism of Republicans over the issue of abortion.
In 2011, she tweeted that Republicans wanted to hold women’s “uteruses hostage,” and in 2013 she tweeted her opposition to a pro-life bill, calling it “Ohio Republicans’ very bad no good awful rotten incorrect unhealthy everything & the kitchen sink against women HB 200.”
Her social media history also extended to her activism in favor of Democratic candidates. In 2015, she celebrated polling showing Democrats ahead of Republicans prior to the 2014 elections, and in 2016 she tried to rally volunteers to phone bank for a Democratic candidate.
Fox News Digital reached out to the Ohio Debate Commission for comment and received a response from Dan Moulthrop, the president of its board of directors.
“This is a specious attempt to smear an organization that has done nothing other than insist on fair debates where facts and the truth are respected,” he said.
Vance’s campaign believes Zimon’s history could be the reason Ryan has insisted that the first debate between the two candidates be sponsored by the Ohio Debate Commission.
“We have accepted two non-partisan debates and have been bewildered as to why Tim Ryan has held those debates hostage, unless we first accepted the debate being hosted by the Ohio Debate Commission,” Vance’s campaign manager, Jordan Wiggins, told Fox News Digital.
“Well now it all makes sense. Tim Ryan and his team are only interested in debating if they’re confident they can rig the system with partisan Democrat activists setting the rules. We have zero interest in joining a debate overseen by a former Democrat candidate for office and board member of Planned Parenthood, who has repeatedly smeared Republicans on her social media,” Wiggins said.
The campaigns have gone back and forth over when and where any debates will take place, however, no debate has been officially scheduled.
Fox News Digital reached out to the Ryan campaign for comment, but did not receive a response.