PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island congressional candidate said Thursday he’s staying in the race despite his recent arrest on a menacing charge in Ohio.
Michael Neary, 28, is among a large field of candidates seeking the Democratic nomination in Rhode Island’s 2nd congressional district following incumbent Democrat Jim Langevin’s announcement in January that he’s retiring.
Neary was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of menacing by stalking March 23, as well as drug counts after marijuana and drug paraphernalia were allegedly found in his car. He has pleaded not guilty.
Neary said Thursday he’s hiring a lawyer and while these have been a difficult few weeks, he’s motivated to continue the campaign because of the stories he has heard from Rhode Island residents about the problems they face.
He said he’s seeking medical and mental health treatment and was referred to a neurologist for a possible seizure-related condition.
Neary lives in Columbus, Ohio, but has said he plans to move back to Rhode Island, where he grew up. Police in Ohio stopped Neary after another driver reported having been followed from Columbus to Troy, more than 60 miles (100 kilometers) away.
Police said the driver reported that Neary’s car mimicked their every move, matching speed and lane changes and even stopping at a rest area after they did. The other driver had just returned from Florida and reported no prior relationship or acquaintance with Neary.
Authorities said Neary told them that he had recently returned from Rhode Island, where he said he was running for a political position, and was very stressed and had been focusing on the Ohio registration on the vehicle in front of him.