The Columbus Dispatch

House hopeful cited 2 days before primary

Tuesday, March 9, 2004
NEWS   01C

By Roger McCoy

Illustration: Photo

The political unknown who upset state Rep. Larry Price in last week's Democratic primary was cited for driving while impaired two days before the election, records show.

A Columbus police officer stopped Mike Mitchell at 3:21 a.m. on Feb. 29 on northbound I-71 near E. Broad Street, according to the citation.

Mitchell, a 31-year-old motivational speaker, was cited for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, for driving with a suspended license and for going 70 mph in a 55-mph zone.

"I have been charged with various traffic offenses,'' Mitchell said in a statement issued yesterday. "I have cooperated fully with law enforcement. I will be pleading not guilty and awaiting trial.''

Reached by phone yesterday, Mitchell declined to answer questions or elaborate on his statement.

Mitchell, who conducts anti-drug and anti-violence workshops for teenagers, was to be arraigned last Friday. His attorney, Sam Shamansky, sought and received a postponement until Wednesday.

In the 26th House District's Democratic primary, Mitchell defeated Price by 173 votes out of 12,253 cast, according to unofficial returns reported by the Franklin County Board of Elections.

Price, a freshman legislator in the heavily Democratic East Side district, had been the target of a late-developing campaign waged by the Columbus gay community and a newly formed political-action committee dedicated to holding Democratic candidates to party principles.

In phone calls and mailings, the two groups criticized Price, a Baptist minister, for voting in favor of the state's $49 billion budget, for backing a penny-per-dollar increase in the sales tax and for supporting a ban on same-sex marriage in Ohio.

Mitchell is to square off against Republican Kenneth R. Besser in November's general election.

"I have cooperated fully with law enforcement. I will be pleading not guilty and awaiting trial."
Mike Mitchell
Democratic candidate for House

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