Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Brown County GOP Update: The Return of Paul Hall...and Revisiting Schmidt v. Wenstrup

Last night the Brown County GOP Central Committee held its post-election reorganization meeting. Officers were elected. Paul Hall, who originally was not going to seek a return to the chairmanship, was nominated and elected to continue as chair. Mariah Votel was elected vice chair. Roxanne Malone elected secretary. Steve Luerke elected treasurer. Business discussed included rewriting the by-laws, as well as meeting to recommend that Clark Gray, winner of the primary for clerk of courts, be hired in that capacity this month when interim clerk of courts Michelle Harris will be leaving. Summer plans were discussed, as were finances.

However, at this meeting and in talking to boots on the ground in Clermont County, I now have a new take on the Schmidt v. Wenstrup race. I still stand by what I said post primary (see archives), but there is indeed a big mistake made by team Schmidt. It involves some information I will borrow from Tom Blumer over at Bizzyblog. Here is the link to his article pre primary day regarding slate card chicanery.

In my investigation, it was revealed to me that indeed the Schmidt camp took a gamble and sided with Don White (then incumbent prosecutor, now defeated) and produced this slate card. Team Schmidt also got Nick Owens to go along and have his name put on the card. Rumor has it Paul Hall was asked but said no, because he said doing such a thing might destroy the party. Actually, it had the opposite effect.

The slate card silliness galvanized the fractured Clermont County GOP into an all out assault on Jean Schmidt, and to a lesser extent, Don White and Nick Owens. One person whose name was on the slate card who didn't get any grief was Joe Uecker, who narrowly it appears has defeated Paul Hall to be state Senator. So, instead of further fractionalizing the party, the tactic by White and Team Schmidt served as a rallying cry to get the party unifed to go after these two and anyone (except, evidently, Uecker) who sided with them on the slate card.

So, in addition to the dirty tricks by Wenstrup and his lies, Team Schmidt pulled a last minute blunder by seeking to take advantage of a confused and disjointed party. Instead, it only served to galvanize them into defeating Jean, even at the cost of possibly losing the seat in the general election.

My exit question is: why was Joe Uecker spared the wrath? Was it because he was endorsed by the party, even though he apparently went along with Schmidt and White in having his name on the slate card. Shouldn't Joe Uecker be criticized a bit for playing both ends? Just curious. So, this adds a further explanation to the loss.