Today in an email to the Ohio Republican Party State Central Committee, Chairman Kevin DeWine indicated that he will not run for reelection.
“Over the past year, our state central committee has become the center of a highly charged contest for the future of the Ohio Republican Party,” DeWine wrote. “Too many members, through no fault of their own, have lost sleep, lost friends, and lost hope during this process. I believe that in order to ensure victory for 2012 this family fight must end now. To accomplish that goal, I intend to lead by example.”
DeWine continued: “Those who want to see new leadership in this party will have their chance, as I will not run for another term as your chairman in January of 2013.”
Translation: DeWine knows that in a straight-up election, he would lose badly. The next election isn’t scheduled until January. The question now is whether the not-DeWine side has enough votes to call for an earlier election. We may see that happen on April 13 when the new committee meets.
DeWine said he wants to focus on beating Obama and Brown, but he didn’t mention wanting to keep a Republican majority in the Ohio House. If DeWine stays in charge of the party purse strings, do you think he will commit the necessary party funds to help Speaker Bill Batchelder keep that majority? He discouraged donors from doing so before, and since Batchelder has since called him out on it, he surely won’t be inclined to do so this time around.
He is right that we need to focus on the 2012 election, and that we need a united party to do so. The problem is that he has shown that he is not capable of uniting the party. Before Governor Kasich was ever elected, he has displayed a history not of being a uniter, but of sowing divisiveness in the party.
The fact is, Dewine is now a lame-duck chairman. This will further prohibit him from raising the money needed and working the behind the scenes politics that will be necessary. Remember how badly Michael Steele ran the RNC? He seemed to care more about selling his book and being on TV than he was in building the party after a horrible loss. Fundraising was horrible and he left the party deep in debt. It was more about him than the RNC. When he was replaced by Reince Priebus, fundraising skyrocketed. Our state party is in a similar situation. We are sorely in need of a fresh start.
By denying Ohio Republicans of that fresh start, he is showing that it is still about Kevin Dewine. Perhaps he’s hoping he can limp along until January, and hope to be appointed a position by a hopefully elected Mitt Romney. Whatever the case, despite his claim of victory earlier, this is a clear admission that the majority of the committee no longer supports him. If he really wanted to lead by example, the honorable thing for him to do is to step down.