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If Mitt Romney is the nominee and loses Ohio, here’s who to blame

Photo courtesy Cleveland Plain Dealer

A month ago on and Third Base Politics, we told you about how Mitt Romney’s campaign has been relying on Ohio Republican Party Chairman Kevin DeWine and a scandal-plagued political consultant named Brett Buerck to advise him on his Ohio campaign.

Brett Buerck, widely known among Ohio political activists for his scandal plagued career, is now back as one of Mitt Romney’s point men in organizing Ohio. Buerck is also known as ORP Chairman DeWine’s closest consultant on Party politics. Finally, Romney’s sole appearance in Ohio during this entire campaign season was months ago when he appeared arm-in-arm with DeWine in southeast Ohio and proceeded to flip flop against Kasich’s government union reform bill, all at the recommendation of DeWine.

In other words, Romney is counting on Buerck and DeWine to lead him to victory in Ohio.

In fact, if you remember last fall when Romney punted on supporting governor John Kasich’s government union reforms in Ohio, it was reported that it was DeWine who advised him not to get involved with the issue. The reforms were strongly supported by the grassroots conservatives who vote in Ohio’s primary, and the incident surely cost him votes in the state. Romney later said he supported those reforms, furthering the “flip-flopper” narrative that his opponents use against him. In short, the entire incident was a disaster for him and it all started with bad advice from DeWine.

The incompetence didn’t end there. In a press release likely put together by the Buerck/DeWine team, they listed a “Mr. Butterworth” as an Ohio state representative part of Romney’s Ohio team, when no such representative has ever existed in the Ohio Legislature.

A couple of weeks ago, Romney suffered another embarrassment in Ohio when Attorney General and former Senator Mike DeWine withdrew his endorsement of Romney and switched to Rick Santorum. Mike DeWine and Kevin DeWine are second cousins, and not necessarily very friendly with each other. The Ohio AG said he felt snubbed by the Romney campaign.

GEORGETOWN, Ohio — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says he didn’t call the Romney campaign before endorsing Rick Santorum because “they haven’t called me for months.”
“I didn’t think I owed them anything,” DeWine told BuzzFeed tonight at a Lincoln Day Dinner event in Brown County that featured Santorum as a speaker. “They didn’t have the courtesy to have the Governor even ever call me. Even after I endorsed him and called to say I was endorsing him.”

In just the past few hours, the reason he didn’t get a call has become clear. In an email, Brett Buerck advised the campaign that it would be a waste of time, and went on to rudely insult Mike DeWine. Buerck intended to send the email to Kevin DeWine in his communication with the Romney campaign. However, he accidentally sent the message calling Mike DeWine “very high maintenance” to Mike DeWine himself. Oops. From the Columbus Dispatch:

A former Ohio Republican official described Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine in an e-mail last October to the Mitt Romney campaign as “very high maintenance” and “who still thinks he’s in the Senate,” adding he did not believe it was “worth our time” to have Romney call DeWine.

The e-mail, obtained by The Dispatch, was written by Brett T. Buerck, a onetime chief of staff to former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder. Buerck has served as a consultant to the Romney campaign.

The e-mail was written after DeWine, who served two terms in the U.S. Senate, had endorsed Romney for the Republican presidential nomination. DeWine last month dropped his endorsement of Romney in favor of former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. The e-mail was inadvertently sent to DeWine. He was unavailable for comment.

In the e-mail, Buerck wrote that DeWine wanted to arrange a telephone call with Romney as part of an effort on the attorney general’s part to “develop a relationship”

“I honestly don’t think it’s worth our time, but defer to you all,” Buerck wrote.

Previous to this release by the Dispatch, Buerck was asked about rumors of such an email by Francesca Chambers of the Washington Examiner, and he denied that any such email existed.

The Romney camp has been claiming that Buerck is just a mail vendor, but the email proves that he is advising the campaign, just like we have said. We’ve been saying for weeks that Romney’s reliance on Kevin DeWine and Buerck is a liability, and this is just another example proving us right. Mike DeWine’s switch to Santorum caught the Romney campaign completely by surprise, and the whole event can be blamed on Brett Buerck. He also can’t be helping Romney’s cause by lying to conservative media outlets, either.

Buerck and Kevin DeWine’s bad advice certainly contributed to Romney not delivering the knockout blow to Rick Santorum he needed in the Ohio primary last week. If Romney goes on to win the nomination, such incompetence in a state as important as Ohio cannot be tolerated and could result in a second Obama term. Let’s hope Romney dumps these guys and finds better help in Ohio, and does it fast.

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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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