Ohio GOP Candidate Stripped of Party Endorsement Over Ashley Madison Website Membership Blames 'The Swamp'

A Republican Ohio House candidate has lost his state GOP endorsement after admitting he signed up to an online dating website for people seeking extra-marital affairs.

Joe Dills, of Union Township, was originally backed by Ohio Republican Party and the Clermont County Republican Party during the race for the 65th District ahead of his rivals Dillon Blevins and former congresswoman Jean Schmidt.

However, the endorsement from the state GOP has now been rescinded, two weeks after Dills admitted that he had a profile on the Ashley Madison website after his first marriage ended in 2013.

Ashley Madison is a specialist dating site for people looking to have an affair from their marriage or relationship. It became infamous in 2015 when hackers leaked the private information of tens of millions of users.

In a statement posted to Facebook on January 24, Dills said he had signed up to the site to connect with women for "inappropriate relationships."

He added: "It was wrong—there is absolutely no way around it. It was a moment of weakness that I deeply regret. I am, and always will be, embarrassed by that decision."

As reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer, the House GOP's campaign arm also provided state party leaders with an additional 116-page document detailing further personal issues that could cause a problem with Dills candidacy.

These include allegations Dills also had a second Ashley Madison account after his marriage to second wife Nikea. According to The Columbus Dispatch, Dills' profile caption said he was "searching for sexy fwb [friends with benefits]."

The document also details an allegation that Dills attacked his first wife in 2010.
The report states that Dills' first wife claimed he "grabbed her arm, picked her up and slammed her on the ground" during an argument.

The alleged abuse came up during a background check after Dills applied to the Ohio Highway Patrol in 2015.

Dills' wife never reported the incident to police and Dills claimed he was protecting himself at the time.

"Joe Dills clearly isn't ready for this public exposure. It's only going to get worse," the document adds.

The Ohio Republican Party confirmed it rescinded the endorsement of Dills after weeks of urging him to pull out of the race for the 65th House District. The party has decided not to endorse another candidate, according to The Enquirer.

In a statement released on Thursday night, Dills accused "insiders" of attempting to smear him in order to allow Schmidt, who has the backing of Ohio Speaker Larry Householder, to win.

"During this entire process, I have never received a call from Chairwoman [Jane] Timken, and I was never given the opportunity to defend myself against these allegations to the whole committee," Dills said.

"The fact that they are doing everything in their power to get someone as blatantly corrupt as Jean Schmidt elected is, quite frankly, appalling.

"The swamp might see this as a victory for them, but it's going to be a political loser with voters in the 65th district. I'm proud to be the only true conservative in this race and have the support of the Republicans in my district."

Schmidt's office has been contacted for comment.

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(File photo) A detail of the Ashley Madison website on August 19, 2015 in London, England. The Ohio Republican Party has rescinded its endorsement of candidate Joe Dills after he signed up to the infamous dating website for people seeking affairs. Carl Court/Getty