With the news that the Lucas County Republican Party Chairman, Jon Stainbrook, failed to meet the deadline for putting Jan Scotland on the ballot as a replacement in the commissioner's race, the rumors, speculations and conspiracy theories are rampant.
Let's take a look at some of them - and their plausibility, recognizing that any good conspiracy has to have some level of plausibility.
Block didn't want Tina Skeldon Wozniak to have an opponent
Under this theory, 'Block' is Toledo Blade publisher John Robinson Block, who has a close friendly relationship with Stainbrook. The plausible portion of this theory is that many people believe Stainbrook does whatever Block wants, so if Block didn't want Wozniak to have an opponent for the commissioner seat, all he'd have to do would be to tell Stainbrook to make it happen.
There are two problems with this theory. One, The Blade likes to have contested races because it generates news and stories for them to cover. It also gives them the ability to claim a bit of the credit when one of their endorsed candidates actually wins. A contested race is good for the paper, so long as the 'right' candidate wins. In this case, despite Scotland's strong candidacy, his chances of winning with such a late start are not as good as Wozniak's. It's not an impossible task (having done it before, I would know), but the odds are not with Scotland, so there'd be no reason to keep him off the ballot.
The second problem with this is that if Block didn't want Wozniak to have an opponent and if he wanted Stainbrook to ensure that fact, Stainbrook never would have recruited Scotland in the first place. Stainbrook could have easily - and more plausibly - announced he was not able to find a replacement prior to the deadline.
This conspiracy theory is fun, but not likely.
The missed deadline has nothing to do with the commissioner race and everything to do with the Board of Elections
With this theory, the idea is that Stainbrook set up the candidacy and the missed deadline in order to make the current members of the board of elections look bad enough to force their resignations. Stainbrook could then take one of the positions himself, earning the wages/benefits/retirement as a board member and putting himself in the position to fire some of the workers against whom he's held a grudge for years.
This is certainly highly plausible. Stainbrook holds grudges forever and doesn't forget. He lives for getting even, often quoting the Old Testament adage of 'an eye for an eye.' He covets the BOE position and has, since becoming chairman, tried to find a way (unsuccessfully) of getting rid of the two Republican board members.
There are problems with this theory, though. One, if Stainbrook's goal was to make the current board members look bad, he's failed miserably. He may have thought he could spin the missed deadline as being their fault, especially when he's friends with a man who buys ink by the barrel. But there's too much ability these days to search the Ohio Revised Code, read the law, and find that the responsibility is with the party - not the BOE. He's also facing two Republican board members who have a reputation for fighting such attacks and allegations with facts. In Lucas County, Patrick Kriner and Lynn Olman, the two board members, have much more credibility than Jon Stainbrook when it comes to such matters.
The second problem with this theory is that it requires the new party chairman to fail to get his personally recruited candidate on the ballot. Even if he could spin the actual filing as the fault of the BOE, the next question would be - why, as chairman, have you not made peace over this issue so the party could work on electing Republicans? Again, Stainbrook would be on the defensive.
The final problem with this theory is the lack of documentation to support Stainbrook's claim against the BOE. To say he called there and somebody told him something just doesn't hold up as a reason to blame the board and not the chairman.
This theory is plausible enough, but if it were really true, it would have been executed better and Stainbrook wouldn't sound like an idiot in his interview this morning on NewsTalk 1370 WSPD.
There's something in Scotland's background that would embarrass the party and they had to find a way to keep him off the ballot.
I'm sure everyone has something they've done in the past that might cause embarrassment, but Scotland is a well-respected individual in the community, in the business world and in the Republican Party. He's been around for a while so any 'surprises' would have come up already.
But the problem with this theory is that IF there was anything there to be found, it will come out regardless of his being on the ballot. Furthermore, IF there was anything, it would call into question the ability of the GOP and Stainbrook to properly vet a potential candidate. This, too, would have backfired and come back on Stainbrook. So I doubt this was the reason the filing deadline was missed.
Stainbrook is incompetent
This last theory isn't a conspiracy, though it's what many people are thinking. Stainbrook has many talents, mostly dealing with volunteers and recruitment, but administration and clerical-type skills are not part of them. Unfortunately, he hasn't surrounded himself with people who possess skills he lacks. My opinion is that he is blinded by his need to get even with those he thinks have wronged him. So he's not paying as much attention to the administrative functions he has as the party chairman. I'm also of the opinion that he's finding the job to be a bit different from what he expected.
This last idea is the simplest and probably the most likely. But it won't stop the conspriacy theorists from speculating...it's almost like a sport.
Again, the sad part is that the BOE will now be faced with more costs of defending their actions (Stainbrook has threatened a lawsuit) - costs which you and I pay for in the form of taxes - all because one individual couldn't bother to check the law to be sure he was doing everything he was supposed to.
And you and I, while perhaps enjoying the games of conspiracy, will be left without a choice and a potential for positive change in November.