Election 2020

Mudslinging Sexting Scandal Roils Ohio GOP State House Primary

Republican Rick Perales, right, tours Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, on Nov. 17, 2017. (Jim Otte/WHIO-TV via AP)

And the lie detector test showed…

Nothing.

The test didn’t happen.

So, Dayton, Ohio, voters are going to have to wait for another day to get the polygraphic truth of whether their state representative, a married man with four children, did more than send sexy text messages to a female constituent.

Republican state Rep. Rick Perales admits having a three-month-long “sexting” affair with one of his constituents, Jocelyn Smith.

Perales described the texts as “purely flirtatious and inappropriate,” and claims he never got physical with the woman who works as a nurse.

Perales said he texted sexy message to Smith, and she sent him topless photos, which Smith denied. Perales also said Smith became angry and started threatening him when he tried to pull out of their sexting affair after a couple of months.

Smith has accused Perales of going much further than exchanging sexy texts. Smith claimed he choked, fondled and kissed her when she got into his car in 2015 to get out of the cold.

Smith said she wanted to talk to Perales, as her state representative, about workplace safety for nurses. But he wanted more, much more.

“All he wanted to talk about was sex,” Smith told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “He kissed me, he put his hand around my neck, and he squeezed really hard.”

“I was shocked,” Smith said. “This was my state representative. This was my go-to person.”

It was after that encounter, Smith said, Perales started sending her text messages. Why didn’t she block them, if they were inappropriate?

“When someone is texting you, I was humoring him,” she said. “He used his position. He used his power.”

“What are you going to do?” Smith also said. “You try to play along, but at some point, you say, ‘Enough is enough.’ ”

Perales has denied any physical contact with Smith, something she told reporters shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

“Politicians don’t exactly have the best record of telling the truth when it comes to being confronted with sexual scandals,” Smith said after reminding reporters of the stories involving Bill Clinton, former Sen. Gary Hart, former Sen. John Edwards, and former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford.

“I genuinely feel bad for his family,” Smith added, “So Rep. Perales should do the honorable thing and not make things worse for them.”

“Please do not force me to release the rest of the text messages and other mountains of evidence,” Smith said. “The honorable thing would be to step down.”

Perales doesn’t see it that way.

“I am not stepping down. I’ve admitted to my part in this situation that occurred more than three years ago, and I am willing to accept the consequences of my poor judgment in texting and befriending this person,” Perales said.

“However, I will not continue to entertain my opponent’s threats and allegations; my focus needs to be on my family, and service to the constituents of the 73rd District,” Perales added.

Smith also said she was willing to take a lie detector test to prove her story if Perales agreed to do the same.

“We will even pay for it,” Smith said, referring to her campaign.

Daniel Palmer, Perales’ campaign manager, told the Dayton Daily News the incumbent Republican would not be taking a polygraph test.

“He is not going to fall prey to the bullying tactics she has engaged in so freely during the course of this campaign,” Palmer said. “He is not going to respond to her dubious, continuously evolving claims and gimmicks, and that includes the administering of a polygraph test.”

Smith decided not to wait for Perales to agree to take a lie detector test. Her campaign announced she would submit to a polygraph exam Thursday.

The test never happened.

“The polygraph examiner has canceled the appointment with Jocelyn Smith scheduled for today after hearing from a member of the news media yesterday,” her campaign adviser, Ralph Wunder, wrote in an news release emailed to the Dayton Daily News.

However, the owner of the company that Wunder said had agreed to administer the polygraph test told the Daily News, “I am not conducting nor have I ever conducted a polygraph examination on Jocelyn Smith.”

The Smith campaign said the lie detector test would happen at a later, unspecified date.

Still, it’s easy to see when Dayton-area voters might be confused about whom to believe.

Michael Talev, a Cleveland-based political consultant who worked with Smith when she decided to run against Perales last year, told the Dayton Daily News Smith said to him that Perales never choked her.

Talev said he quit Smith’s campaign when she started talking about sending Perales’ texts to the Republican’s wife, children and grandchildren.

“I’m not going to involve family members in campaigns, period. It’s mudslinging,” said Talev. “I told her, ‘Look Jocelyn, I can’t do this anymore. I’m resigning. The money you owe me, forget about it.’”

But Smith said Talev’s a liar, claiming he didn’t quit her campaign but she fired him.

“I did not trust him. He did not deliver,” Smith said. “This is someone getting even with me because he’s bitter because I fired him. This is a mouthpiece for Perales for character assassination.”

Talev said he doesn’t know Perales but did call him to give him a head’s-up on what Smith was planning to do.

“They both did wrong, actually. Let’s be honest about it. But let’s not invent things to get elected,” Talev said. “If we elect people who lie our countries or states are going to be wrecked. We are going to live in a mess.”