In my column which went up this morning I observed that:
(Ohio Republican Party Chairman Kevin) DeWine is trying to rewrite the Central Committee qualification rules at the last minute to prevent insurgent winners who haven’t voted in the last three statewide primaries from being seated.
This means that a candidate can win his or her Central Committee race, but will not be seated unless they voted in the Republican primary in 2008, 2010, and 2012.
The insurgents are a number of Tea Party supporters and others encouraged to run by Governor John Kasich, who has been feuding with DeWine ever since the ORP in 2010 “asked donors not to give to Kasich,” who was in a tightening race against incumbent Democrat Ted Strickland and only won by two percentage points.
Ohio GOP committee gives Chairman Kevin DeWine a victory through rule change
The state Republican Central Committee voted 29-28 Friday to change the qualifications for being elected to the group.
The vote is a victory for state Republican Party Chairman Kevin DeWine and a rebuke to GOP Gov. John Kasich.
By a single vote, DeWine loyalists passed a rule that only candidates for GOP committee who voted in the last three Republican primaries would be eligible to sit on the committee.
… There are thought to be as many as 12 Kasich-recruited members for the committee who would be disqualified under the new rule.
The narrow margin shows that it isn’t just insurgents who are infuriated. What it really shows, despite the “victory,” is that Kevin DeWine is the one who was “rebuked” by as many as a dozen of his longtime loyalists. The 66-member committee has perhaps 46-50 longtimers (Tea Partiers took perhaps 16-20 seats in 2010), so Kevin’s support has clearly eroded.
Really, if almost half of your group is willing to go against something like this after all the arm-twisting which surely occurred, why would you want to remain in charge of it? This really is a message (destined to be ignored, I’m afraid) that Kevin should step down in favor of someone on whom almost everyone can agree, and who will work with Kasich instead of undermining him.
SCC candidates who win election (note that early voting for the March 6 primary has already started) but are prevented from being seated by the new rule will surely mount legal challenges which under Ohio law seem to have a reasonable chance of succeeding. Of course, ORP now has a handy weapon to use against all challengers, namely a whisper campaign: “Why vote for someone who won’t get seated?”
It’s not an understatement to say that Kevin DeWine has embarrassed himself and his organization in front of the whole nation in a critical swing state which has already begun its primary.
Stupid Party indeed.