Tuesday, April 27, 2010

More Complaints Filed Against ORP's "Deem and Endorse" Shenangians

Four more candidates for the Ohio Republican Party State Central Committee have filed charges with the Ohio Election Commission, charging the Party with breaking its own rules and Ohio election laws by endorsing candidates without the required authorizing vote. George Momirov of the 16th State Senate District, Jennifer Elicson of the 3rd District and Jack and April Fryman of the 1st District has added their voices to that of Thea Shoemake of the 14th District. Thea filed her complaint two weeks ago. An initial review of her complaint ruled that she had “Probable Cause” and put her case on the calendar for a hearing by the full commission.

Additional complaints may be forthcoming. Although State Republican Party Chairman Kevin DeWine has argued that a vote is unnecessary to endorse State Central Committee members; the endorsement of incumbents can be “deemed” to have been held. However Bob Rousseau, an incumbent State Central Committeeman for the 13th Senate District was not endorsed by DeWine; his opponent was. Mr. Rousseau’s strong opposition to a vote to endorse a candidate and limit the voters’ choice in the Party primary is known to have angered party officials. Moreover there are several non-incumbents that appear to have been recruited from the ranks of Party loyalists for the purpose of opposing candidates involved in the Tea Party movement. These loyalists also have secured the Party endorsement without an authorizing vote as required.

According to Jim Woods of the Medina County Friends And Neighbors (MCFAN) organization, a candidate himself in the 22nd State Senate District, “This is the very kind of self-serving, back room manipulation of the political process that the Tea Party movement has been fighting. It is bad enough when Speaker of the House Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Reid treat the rules with contempt. To see a Republican Party Chairman doing the same is shocking.”

Of greatest concern to the Party is that the Tea Party candidates are not just keeping their campaign “in house”. The Party has taken steps to portray the battle for State Central Committee seats as a “family argument”. Steve Christopher, one of the spokesmen for the Tea Party participants in the battle said, “That comment illustrates the problem - that the Ohio Republican Party considers itself to be closed and private. We believe that it should be open and inclusive, and urge all those Independents who have given up on the Party to come back on May 4, ask for a Republican Party ballot, and vote for Republican Party candidates that want to give a voice back to the people, instead of ignoring them and doing what they are told.”