I’ve stayed neutral and silent on this squabble, but recent events have made it impossible to do so any longer.
The most recent public attacks from Ohio Republican Party (ORP) Chairman Kevin DeWine on the governor are inappropriate and uncalled for. DeWine alleged that the governor’s staff is involved in unethical activities.
Ohio Republican Party Chairman Kevin DeWine alleges that members of Gov. John Kasich’s staff were used during state workdays in an ongoing effort to oust DeWine as head of the party.
Official documents show that Kasich’s regional liaisons, Nicole Kostura, Nick Gatz and Sherri Carbo, each turned in petitions for candidates to run for the GOP state central committee against candidates who support DeWine. The petitions were delivered by the Kasich staff members during weekday work hours.
Here’s the fact that DeWine doesn’t mention: the people mentioned submitted petitions on their own time after requesting time off, either through their vacation or personal days. There was nothing illegal or unethical about that at all. What they do on their own time is their business.
In an interview with ONN’s Jim Heath, DeWine continues to play some sort of victim card in an attempt to garner sympathy among the base. He is trying to say that this whole thing was started by John Kasich right after the 2010 elections.
“He and I had a short conversation,” DeWine said. “He said he wanted his own person. I said I respect that, but that’s not the way the committee elects a chairman.”
However, that’s a non-starter, because according to multiple sources, DeWine began to undermine Kasich’s campaign before the elections, asking them to donate their money not to Kasich, but to Dave Yost and long-time ally Jon Husted.
This would not be a surprise. DeWine owed a favor to Yost, for dropping out of the AG race to clear the way for Mike DeWine, Kevin DeWine’s cousin. It’s long been known that Kevin DeWine and Husted are very close allies. Husted is rumored to have his eyes on the governorship, and it’s been suggested by some that DeWine and Husted wouldn’t have minded much had Kasich lost, clearing Husted’s way for a 2014 run.
Kasich is nowhere near being the first person to want DeWine replaced. The conservative base in Ohio has long had problems with DeWine’s leadership. DeWine told Kasich “that’s not the way the committee elects a chairman”. Okay, fair enough. So now when allies of the governor decide to run for positions on the committee, which is the way that chairmen are selected, he’s again claiming that people are treating him unfairly? Seats on the committee are elected positions, just like any public office. Being an incumbent doesn’t and shouldn’t guarantee you won’t be challenged during the next election.
It’s not uncommon for a governor and party chairman to have different views of who should run the party. The honorable way to go about settling that is through making your case to the committee members, and to the GOP voters by getting your allies elected. That’s all that has happened here on the part of the governor’s allies.
Kasich’s request to DeWine was made in private. He didn’t publicly call out DeWine or criticize him to the press. DeWine can’t seem to portray the same professionalism, and it is DeWine who is damaging the Republican Party in the process. When he makes public, erroneous and negative criticisms about the governor in public like he did to the central committee earlier this month, he is doing ODP Chairman Chris Redfern’s and Plunderbund’s job for them.
Mr. DeWine, it is time for you to step down as chairman. If you refuse to do so, the very least you could do is to behave honorably and stop the public attacks on the governor. If you bring him down, you bring the whole state party down. Your chairmanship isn’t worth destroying the party over, especially heading into a crucial presidential election.