IS THE KASICH/DEWINE FIGHT OVER DEWINE REMAINING CHAIR OF THE OHIO GOP SPILLING OVER INTO STARK COUNTY?
In two words, "apparently not."
With a battle going on between Republican Governor John Kasich and Ohio Republican Party Chairman Kevin DeWine on whether or not DeWine would remain as chairman, it was tempting to read into the fact that long term 33rd District Republican State Committeewoman Sarah Brown is being opposed for re-election (now in the 29th due to Alliance - where Sarah lives - being redistricted into the 29th from the 33rd this year) that the competition was a local spillover.
But such does not appear to be the case.
As far as the Stark County Political Report can determine, both Brown and her opponent Beth A. Williams are supporting the Kasich side of the state GOP chairmanship argument.
In a conversation with Brown yesterday, she told the SCPR that she sees Kasich as the titular head of the Ohio Republican Party and has been totally supportive of him as governor.
So why did Williams decide to take on the politically experienced (as a former councilperson on Alliance City Council), connected (married to former Stark County Republican Party Chairman Charles E. Brown, Jr. [now a Stark County Common Pleas Court judge], savvy and Republican passionate Sarah Brown?
The Report has been unable to contact Williams but has exchanged e-mails with Jim Woods and The Report believes that Woods has shed light as to why Williams has filed to contest the Republican 29th District state committeewoman seat.
The Report's interest in the Brown/Williams was piqued on receiving a broadcast e-mail yesterday from Woods. Witness these extracts:
- For our part, this divisiveness began when DeWine "broke the bank" to defeat "Tea Party" Republicans in the 2010 primary, leaving the party short of funds to defeat democrats in the fall.
- [H]e [DeWine] will not step down as Chairman. Not in order to prevent a costly Primary battle for state central committee seats, consuming resources that should be applied to the general election. Again, as he did in 2010.
- He is adamant that he will remain Chairman no matter what, until January 2013. Not if the war between him and the rest of the party continues right through the general election, with all the implications of infighting and intrigue within the party has on the Ohio Presidential election, and the possibility that the divisiveness in Ohio may result in Obama's re-election.
- This is not the action of a man who is committed to the cause. It is the action of a man who has put himself first. Conservative Republicans, liberal Republicans, social conservatives, and the "Tea Party" may disagree on many things, but one thing I think we can all agree upon is that a person who is in it for their own self-interest above all else, is not "one of us".
While Williams may have a special edge to her in being a member of the Stark 912 Patriots (since April 21, 2011 according to the group's website) and thereby absorbing the intensity of the Tea Party's feeling against DeWine, it is clear to the SCPR that Sarah Brown is firmly ensconced in Kasich's corner and supports his desire to have a person as chairman to his liking.
It appears that Williams candidacy is grounded in the Tea Party's effort to get a prominent place at the table within the Republican Party.
Here is how Woods puts it to The Report:
The Tea Party movement has been encouraging its members to run for central committee positions since 2009, in order to increase our influence in the major political parties. We also believe that both major party's should be more open, inclusive and responsive to the rank and file members of their party.Moreover, he adds this:
I note that the GOP Chairman (DeWine) does not have a candidate of his own for this seat. Whether either Beth or Sarah decide to withdraw or proceed is up to them. They are both clearly on the same side of the "Head of the Party" issue. If neither chooses to withdraw, then may the best woman win!For her part, Sarah Brown tells The Report that she welcomes the political competition from Williams pointing out she has had numerous opponents in a various runs for Alliance City Council.
You can be sure that those seeking votes in Stark County in future elections are keenly interested in knowing exactly how much clout the Tea Party has in the county.
Unless one of them withdraws from the race, one thing that the outcome could reveal is an indication of the answer to that question.