Ann Sanner

COLUMBUS, Ohio: A long-time Republican state lawmaker from northeast Ohio is drawing criticism for questioning his female primary opponent’s interest in serving in the Legislature while she is raising young children.

While on the Jan. 18 America’s Work Force radio show, state Sen. Tom Patton noted his opponent, Jennifer Herold, was a 30-year-old mother of two. He then questioned whether anyone told her that she’d have to spend three nights a week in Columbus. Later in the program, he referred to Herold as “sweetie.”

Patton, who’s term-limited in the Senate, is seeking the 7th House District seat. Both he and Herold are from Strongsville.

In a Thursday statement, Herold said Patton crossed the line.

Patton tells cleveland.com in a statement that his comments “appear to have been misunderstood.”