End in Sight for ORP Fight?

If you’ve followed the recent head-butting between Governor Kasich and Ohio Republican Party (ORP) Chairman Kevin DeWine, you know Tuesday was not DeWine’s day. If you’re a Third Base Politics regular, you also know where I stand on the subject: Kevin DeWine has squandered the trust of conservative activists whose support ORP desperately needs this year, and should step down.

Following a couple of posts in January, I’ve been happy to defer to more knowledgeable observers for ORP State Central Committee coverage. The inside baseball of this dispute doesn’t interest me much, but Kevin DeWine’s actions over the past two months validate the concerns I shared in December.

Yesterday Bytor posted a list of Central Committee winners, highlighting known losses for DeWine. Today ONN’s Jim Heath tweeted a series of updates & questions about the post-election Central Committee meeting DeWine has scheduled:

Actually, the meeting will determine who leads ORP only if a vote is called. Will Kevin DeWine (who has convinced at least 1 person of his success Tuesday) include an up-or-down vote on his continued chairmanship in the agenda?

My impression is that Team Kasich sought candidates who shared the governor’s belief DeWine should be replaced, as opposed to candidates who would support a specific replacement. I would be surprised if Governor Kasich endorsed anyone between now and April 13th.

This gets back to inside baseball: I don’t know enough to comment on the good, bad, or ugly attributes of any potential candidates. I do know that instead of discreetly resolving his issues with Kasich and Speaker Batchelder, Kevin DeWine turned a dispute into a debacle – after pouring big bucks into electing his cousin Mike DeWine and his pal Jon Husted, dishonestly appropriating the Tea Party brand in the process.

The fact that DeWine is calling a meeting does indeed suggest he’s confident of his position. The fact that the meeting is the same day as the post-primary campaign finance filing deadline tells a different story! Given recent history, Committee members will want to know: how much donor money did DeWine spend defending himself, and how much of that went to disgraced consultant Brett Buerck?

Smoldering in the background is DeWine’s implausible claim to have disqualified several Kasich-backed Central Committee candidates with a last-minute rule change. If DeWine attempts to block elected Committee members from being placed, this whole mess could get a whole lot messier.

Regardless of whether you think DeWine should stay or go, a vote of the new ORP State Central Committee is the only way for this fight to end. Friday the 13th can’t come soon enough.

Cross-posted at Third Base Politics.

Leave a Reply