Thursday, Dec. 1, the Brown County GOP Central Committee met to make endorsements regarding the upcoming 2012 primaries. Presidential candidates are not considered per our standing rules. There were a few changes to the endorsement procedures. For example, in county races, one would not get a full endorsement but a recommendation if one attained a 50% count of the votes of CC members. This was done at a previous meeting I was unable to attend. At first, I must admit I did not like the change, but it kind of grew on me a little.
First big news was the resignation of Paul Hall from the Brown County board of elections. This was due to his running for Ohio Senate, which would create a problem. Mariah Votel was appointed to take his seat on the board.
There were a number of unopposed races, all of which gained recommendation. They were:
Sheriff Dwayne Wenninger, Prosecutor Jessica Little, Commission Candidate Daryl Gray, Recorder Amy Jo Declaire, Supreme Court Judge Sharon Kennedy, and court of appeals judge Stephen Powell. Jeff Hardin was also unopposed but needed 60% vote for endorsement. He received it based on his excellent record on the state board of education and his fantastic presentation.
In county contested races, more than one candidate could be recommended, as each candidate was voted on separately by the committee. If they garnered 50% of the vote, they are considered recommended. No endorsements were issued. In the contested race for a commission seat, one of the people was a registered democrat and did not show up. The other, Barry Woodruff, gave a great presentation about his story of starting as an orderly and working his way up in a major health care concern. He received a recommendation.
There were two candidates for clerk of courts who met the deadline for requesting endorsement. However, the CC voted to suspend the rules to allow the other three candidates seeking endorsement to not only speak, but be voted upon. Jeff Frye, Sandy McKinney, and Alicia Crawford all got a chance to speak. Jeff Frye's background is in real estate titles. He is active in the community and his wife is a radio personality on a local station. He made a good point of bringing up need to digitize all records to avoid getting lost/stolen. Sandy McKinney brought a wealth of private and public sector experience, as a business owner and as a worker in the Clerk's office and manager of the local airport. Alicia Crawford already works in the clerk's office and is basically acting on behalf of Clerk of Court's Tina Meranda, doing most of her duties with Tina being in poor health (your prayers appreciated. Crawford cited her experience working for Tina but then talked about all the work being too much and how she had to leave some duties to others. None of these folks were recommended, but they all seemed like good candidates. The two who were recommended were Clark Gray and Marilyn Cluxton. Clark Gray had a good sense of humor, wants to be only Clerk of Courts, and wants to extend office hours. Marilyn Cluxton, whose son is Democrat county engineer Todd Cluxton, is a lifelong republican who works in the clerk's office as well. Both made great presentations and were recommended by at least a 50% vote for each person.
In the race for state central committee person, one guy didn't show up and John Becker withdrew his request for endorsement. Greg Simpson won the endorsement with a powerful presentation on his ideas and how he would look at candidates. Not just saying conservative, but what are your ideas? Sounds like a good approach.
For State Representative, Rick Herron of Bethel led off. He is one of the founders of the Bethel Tea Party and active in that movement. He spoke a lot of red meat and talked about reducing size and scope of government and getting rid of regulations and taxes. However, not a lot of ideas. Nick Owens went next. Nick is a young man who worked for Jean Schmidt and helped with some cases in the Brown County prosecutors office. He is finishing his law degree from U of Dayton. He gave a nice presentation where he talked about being faithful and following both the US Constitution as well as Ohio's and knowing how to work within each. He cited his experience working with bureaucrats in getting things done and talked about ideas and how we needed someone who was active and had fire in the belly. He gave a great talk about fixing the 32/68 interchange in Mt. Orab and the need to have someone who could articulate what the district was about and present its best face to interested parties. Last was County Auditor Doug Green. Doug brings a lifetime of service and experience to Brown County, having grown up in the County. He has been 26 years of leadership and is recognized around the state. He talked about his desire to serve. In this race, the CC went with the hometown guy, Doug Green, and endorsed him. Nick Owens came in 2nd, and Rick Herron did not receive a single vote to my knowledge. Either Owens ore Green are great candidates, and I hope both run a clean race, as both are stand up guys who want to serve. I hope they both get their message out and let the best person win.
State Senate was next. Rep. Joe Uecker of Clermont County, Steve Purtell, a lawyer in the prosecutor's office, and Chairman of the CC Paul Hall of Brown County are in the running. Joe Uecker talked a lot of boilerplate GOP talk and how he had experience. Not a whole lot of ideas there. Steve Purtell gave a nice talk but his lack of political experience showed, and it was not totally organized or laid out. Paul Hall gave a fantastic speech, talking about how we needed non-politicians in the race and how even though other people (namely Mr. Uecker) had said how can he run his businesses and be rep, Paul said he would make the changes and would be a voice for our values. I was impressed, as this Paul Hall was much better prepared and articulated a vision much more than the Paul Hall who ran against Danny Bubp. He talked about actually eliminating and privatizing things that were not efficient. Paul Hall won endorsement.
In the biggest race of the night, for US Congress, 2nd district, there was incumbent Jean Schmidt vs. Dr. Brad Wenstrup, of Clermont County. WMD has covered the many mistruths and foul play of Dr. Wenstrup. Dr. Wenstrup began, I believe. He talked about how conservative he was, about how he sought to defend the nation, enlisting at 39 in the Guard and being deployed to Iraq. Very admirable, and I salute and honor his service. He then went into boilerplate tea party mode without really saying why he needed to be there instead of Jean Schmidt. During the Q and A, I asked him about his abortion issues as well as using a Soros group to attack Jean. The answers were shocking. First, he claimed that we had discussed his abortion issues over the phone. FALSE! While Dr. Wenstrup did attempt to talk to me, I talked to him for a little over 2 minutes, asking him to call me back as I was busy when he wanted to talk. AT NO TIME did we discuss his hypocrisy in the pro life area. His answer was more of the same: Planned Parenthood promised this, I am the most pro life member of the Board of Health, etc. He accused me of spinning his votes. I merely stated in the question that he had voted for and seconded motions that gave PP money and that this money flowing in one pocket would allow them to spend money from another pocket on pro abort causes. WE didn't even get into his false defense that PP was the only organization doing AIDS testing and support, when even WCPO had a story on Caracole, another organization that could have taken on AIDs testing. Then, on the issue of the Soros group CREW, he said I must have done some "serious" digging to find out they were backed by Soros. Not true again. It took all of 30 seconds googling to find what CREW was all about. He then said, 'well, they rated 10 republicans and 4 democrats most corrupt, so that sounds nonpartisan to me.' Which brings me to this point:
Do we want someone in Congress who doesn't take a few minutes to check the facts and orientation of a group they are going to cite in an official document? I say no. Also, do you want someone who is going to attack someone for voting in a way that could possibly lead to funds for something unsavory, even as they voted twice officially to give money to the provider of the unsavory service? Sounds a little hypocritical to me.
Dr. Wenstrup was still visibly shaken by my questions as he answered other questions.
Jean Schmidt came up next and thanked us all for supporting her in the past, and asked for our support and our votes. Bill Herdmann expressed his thanks to Jean and her husband Peter for coming out to events and supporting the Brown County GOP as well as providing fantastic service to Brown County and making great inroads in communication and service. Others echoed the sentiment. Jean talked about how we needed to fight Obamacare and also make sure Obama is a one term president.
Jean Schmidt received the endorsement with over 66% of the vote.
Tom Blumer at Bizzyblog offers more insight and cites us here at WMD regarding the OH-2 primary race.
All in all, a good night, with some great candidates, and one or two who were definitely not.