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DeWine Out as Ohio GOP Chairman

As Bytor just noted, Kevin DeWine has submitted his resignation as Chairman of the Ohio Republican Party:

DeWine, 44, has prepared a letter to the 66 members of the GOP state central committee, saying he will step down when the party’s governing body meets to reorganize on April 13.

Joe Hallett of The Columbus Dispatch remains fixated on Kasich’s insistence that DeWine step down, painting DeWine as the victim in a nefarious Kasich power play. At Third Base Politics, GOHP Blog, and elsewhere, we’ve listed more than a few reasons Ohio conservatives wanted DeWine out, but oh well. We’re not the first conservative bloggers to be ignored by the local paper!

To his credit, Hallett does mention Governor Kasich and Speaker Batchelder’s complaints about DeWine… in the next-to-last paragraph:

Kasich and his allies, including House Speaker William G. Batchelder, a Medina Republican, complained that DeWine was a divisive leader who showed favoritism to certain Republican candidates and elected officials and hostility to others.

There are two ways of looking at this story, which seems to be approaching an overdue conclusion:

  1.  In the Dispatch version, touted by dwindling numbers of DeWine loyalists, Kasich is a whiny grump who wants to control everything. This telling is also popular among Democrats, who are fighting internally over whether the contemptible Chris “Tea Party F***ers” Redfern should remain their chairman.
  2. As Bytor and I have tried to convey, there were serious issues with DeWine’s chairmanship before the governor asked him to step down in 2010. We don’t know who the ORP State Central Committee will choose in his place, but DeWine’s public dust-up with Kasich and Batchelder proved he was not the man for the job.

Whatever the backstory, DeWine’s response to the March election bounced from “I won” to “I won but I won’t run for reelection in 2013,” to “the party is more important so I’m resigning immediately, even though I won” in less than a month. History may prove us wrong for siding with Governor Kasich, but the argument that DeWine is loved by all save a few angry rubes has completely dissolved.

Now the State Central Committee will have the difficult task of choosing a new chairman. In the meantime…

Former Ohio GOP Chairman Robert T. Bennett, 73, is poised to come out of retirement to lead the party, at least on an interim basis. He is expected to take over at the April 13 meeting.

Bennett, the most successful party chairman in state history, was an intermediary in the past week between DeWine and Kasich allies, including Beth Hansen, Kasich’s chief of staff, and former Ohio House Speaker Jo Ann Davidson of Reynoldsburg.

I commend Kevin DeWine’s decision to step down and end this ugly chapter of ORP history; now let’s get back to work. Barack Obama will be punching below the belt, especially in Ohio – and you know wherever there are Progressive economic fallacies pushed with Big Labor money and media complicity, Sherrod Brown is never far away!

For Kevin DeWine’s complete resignation letter, see Ohio Capital Blog.

Follow Jason on Twitter: @jasonahart

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Third Base Politics is an Ohio-centric conservative blog that has been featured at Hot Air, National Review, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and others.


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