Here's what I understand are the events that occurred this evening during a scheduled meeting of the Lucas County Republican Party Central Committee.
The meeting was called and scheduled by Megan Gallagher, who was the chairman of the central committee, to address a couple of minor issues within the party, one dealing with how members of the central committee are nominated - either by declaration or by acquiring five signatures within their precincts.
Apparently, Megan and now former chairman Jon Stainbrook, were not expecting even a small number of central committee members to show up, because they did not have chairs/space for the over 100 members of the committee.
When over 100 people showed up for the meeting, a scramble began to figure out where the committee could meet and Stainbrook opened up an unused floor above the current county offices.
There appeared to be an issue with who could attend this public meeting with some reports that Stainbrook was preventing anyone who was not a member of the committee from going upstairs into the meeting room. However, while committee members were required to be checked in, eventually it appears that others were allowed to observe the proceedings.
There was no heat in the meeting area - and lighting was not very good. Stainbrook and Gallagher stayed out of the meeting room well past the start time of 6 p.m.
My understanding is that around 6:45, a member of the central committee, tired of waiting for the meeting to begin, asked the membership if they wanted to go ahead and call the meeting to order and begin.
Apparently, there was a motion to do so, which passed and Chris Myers was named temporary chairman to conduct the meeting.
I understand that the first order of business was a motion to suspend the rules of the party, which passed. I do not know the details of the discussions but the committee voted to remove Megan Gallagher and the other officers of the central committee and they elected Paul Hoag as the new chairman of the central committee.
Hoag then ran the rest of the meeting.
Further business included a vote to remove Stainbrook as the chairman of the executive committee (the chairman of the party position) and, subsequently, all his individual appointments to the executive committee. This left only the members of the executive committee identified in the party bylaws as members. Those individuals are state central committee reps, ward chairmen, presidents of clubs with more than 25 members, past party chairmen and elected officials.
Jeff Simpson was then nominated and voted in as the chairman of the Lucas County Republican Party. Jeff was the president of the Young Republicans and has been a candidate for district city council in Toledo. He is an attorney.
The press release issued by the party:
PAUL HOAG AND JEFF SIMPSON ELECTED TO LEADERSHIP OF THE LUCAS COUNTY
By a majority vote of the duly elected / appointed member of the Lucas County Republican Central Committee have elected Paul Hoag to serve as chairman of the central committee. Immediately there after members elected Jeff Simpson as Chairman of the executive Committee.
When asked for comment about theses unprecedented turn of events Jeff Simpson stated "I am honored and humbled for the opportunity to serve the Lucas County Republican Party. I look forward to serving all Lucas County Republicans and working to recruit and elect qualified Republicans to all levels of government."
I also understand that during the meeting, Stainbrook attempted to get his supporters to the meeting, to no avail. He and his supporters disrupted the meeting by yelling and shouting, claiming that the meeting and votes were not legitimate. There were threats to call the Fire Marshall in order to try and halt the meeting and it is rumored that the police were called, though I do not know if they showed up.
*Update: I've confirmed that the police were called and did respond (three cars), and asked everyone to clear the building. This was after the meeting was adjourned, but happened while the new leadership was getting committee members to sign an attendance sheet so they would have their own record of members at the meeting.
Quite a few of the central committee members were recording the meeting and I was told that Stainbrook's supporters tried to stop all the recordings. But with today's cell phones and smart phones, they eventually gave up. The video from the meeting will prove to be very interesting, I'm sure. (If anyone posts it, I will link to you so you can see for yourself.)
I also know that Ohio Republican Party Chairman Kevin DeWine was informed of the events and asked to support the new, duly-elected leadership of the party.
I do not know if he pledged to do so, but it appears the issue may be presented to the Ohio Republican Party's State Central Committee. In such instances, the state central committee looks to the county members for guidance and advice on action to take.
Interestingly, the state central committee members from Lucas County are Jonathan Binkley, former party chairman Dee Talmage, JoAnn Wack and .... Paul Hoag, the newly-elected chairman of the local central committee.
Any question what they're going to recommend?
This came as a complete and total surprise to Stainbrook who did not expect even half of the central committee to show up and who was threatening legal action as a result.
It also comes with plenty of time for the state party to recognize the new leadership long before Lynn Olman's current term on the Lucas County Board of Elections expires and the party chairman is asked to recommend someone for that position.
This was a nice Christmas present for Lucas County Republicans - to have adults, and true Republicans, in charge of the local party.