I'm not really sure where to start on this Ohio Republican Party Chairman Kevin DeWine - Governor John Kasich split over control of the ORP but it has resulted in very strange goings-on in Lucas County.
Kasich has, for a long time, wanted his own person in charge of the party. DeWine hasn't wanted to go. DeWine made the issue public and, in 2008, spent party money to protect incumbent state central committee members from tea party candidate challengers.
At the last state central committee meeting, DeWine passed a rule change (by a one vote margin) which says that you have to have been a registered Republican in at least three prior elections in order to be eligible for service on the state central committee. Many saw this as an attempt to keep newly registered Republicans - tea party members who took to heart the advice to change the party from within - from actually serving if elected. That he did this after the ballots were printed was just sheer stupidity.
If you want a good recap, Tom Blumer at BizzyBlog has been following the issue and has details, including this most recent update on mailers paid for by the state.
The strange thing is the impact this division has had on Lucas County - not that Lucas County doesn't have its own share of issues with central committee seats.
Wednesday, I shared breaking news with you about the deal worked out by DeWine to avoid three contested races for state central committee in Senate Districts 2 and 9.
When I learned that this deal was pending, I was confused as at least one individual now unopposed was listed on this 'alternate slate' list - a group of people supposedly opposed to DeWine.
It was my understanding that Lucas County Republican Party Jon Stainbrook was instrumental in working out the deal - and we all know that Stainbrook doesn't do anything that isn't, first and foremost, in his own best interest, or intended to exact revenge against those he believes have slighted him.
But now comes the interesting part. Meghan Gallagher, an incumbent state central committeewoman is running unopposed thanks to Chairman DeWine - but a Kasich organization has paid for the mailings for Stainbrook and Gallagher that just hit homes yesterday.
It's also my understanding that DeWine was not aware of the mailings and learned of them only after they were received by voters.
Now, why would DeWine work to have a Kasich supporter unopposed? And do you think DeWine would have brokered the deal if he'd known that the Kasich mailer was in the mail the day he did it?
Obviously, Stainbrook was aware that the mailing was going out, so it means he withheld the information from DeWine.
Stainbrook withholding information isn't news, but it may be to DeWine, though if DeWine had heeded the information and advice he's received from other Republicans in Lucas County, this would not have come as a surprise.
Additionally, did Kasich know that Stainbrook was working out a deal to protect potential DeWine supporters when his organization agreed to pay for and send out these mailings?
Is Stainbrook playing both sides against the middle for his own personal benefit?
Sadly, there's not much local Republicans can do when it comes to the state central committee races. A vote cast for the candidates who withdrew will not be counted. Mickey Wagoner, Dee Talmage and Gallagher are going to be elected.
Stainbrook, however, may not be. He lost this seat in 2008 to incumbent Jonathan Binkley by a 5,310 to 4,097 vote. In fact, I understand Stainbrook was so angry at losing that he decided he needed to confuse voters by recruiting a Sean Binkley to run with him against Jonathan Binkley this year, though he denied he did so.
Interestingly, Sean Binkley has never voted in a Republican primary, making him ineligible to serve, based on the new party rule change, if elected.
So Republicans can - again - defeat Stainbrook by electing Jonathan Binkley, and I would urge them to do so. Unlike his opponent, Jonathan is a man of integrity and will do as he says rather than play petty games pitting people against each other or use his position to exact revenge on those he believes have wronged him years in the past.