ORP cries foul over logo use on mailers

Most average voters are unaware of this, but in Ohio’s primary on March 15th, we won’t just be nominating candidates for the GOP ticket in November’s races. We’ll also be choosing who makes up the State Central Committee for the Ohio Republican Party.

There is a man and a woman elected in each of Ohio’s Senate districts, for a total of 66 members.

The ORP committee routinely votes every year to endorse themselves (all the incumbent members) and uses party money to promote keeping themselves in their current seats, instead of using donor money to defeat Democrats.

However, we have covered past instances of the party using dirty tricks to avoid endorsing and supporting certain members that they don’t like. Weeks ago, we showed you how they filed a bogus challenge against one member, so that they had an excuse not to endorse and support him. Even after their bogus complaint was dismissed by the local board of elections, ORP refused to support him like they do for all the other incumbent members.

Here in my district, there are challengers to the incumbent State Central Committee members for the 13th district. Mr. Michael Witte and Ms. Kirsten Penton Hill are campaigning together and sent out postcards to the GOP voters in the district. Below is one of their postcards.



Normally, voters only receive mailers from the ORP endorsing the incumbent members, so it’s clear that these two candidates are determined and working hard to earn votes.

Not long after these cards went out, however, Mr. Witte says that he received a threatening letter from Chairman Matt Borges over the use of the ORP logo.

They are running for a position in the Ohio Republican Party, after all. And the cards do not claim that they are endorsed.

I asked Witte about the mailers and the letter from Borges. Here was his response.

We had the cards printed prior to the week of 2/14 and they were mailed on Tuesday Feb 16. When formulating the layout, we considered using the Ohio Republican Party Logo, as we are Republicans, in Ohio, running for a position on the Ohio Republican Party State Central Committee.

We discussed this with others who are also running, and the consensus was that there was nothing prohibiting it, so we included the Logo on our mailer.

On Friday, Feb 19, I received a letter from Matt Borges dated Feb 18, stating the use was an unauthorized use of their (The ORP) trademarked logo. This was disturbing to me, as I was under the impression that there was no trademark.

So I researched it, and found that the Logo in question is not registered on the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) database. Searching the Ohio SOS site, I found that the subject Logo was registered as of Wednesday, February 17, 2016.

Here is the letter he received from Borges.



Indeed, Witte is correct in his assertion that at the time he sent his post cards, the logo was not registered. The ORP only rushed out and registered the logo after the fact, and then sent out the letter. The registrations with the Secretary of State’s office, on 2/17/16, can be viewed here and here.

Borges’s letter also contains mistakes. He accuses Witte of representing the NW Ohio Conservative Coalition. But Witte says he is not associated with them in any way. Lorain County isn’t even located in NW Ohio. Borges also refers in the letter to an included exhibit, but none was included.

All that being said, I can understand the ORP’s desire to control their own brand and intellectual property. But since they hadn’t registered the logos, it appears they were quite sloppy in doing so.

For his part, Mr. Witte says that now that the logo is registered to the ORP, he will no longer use it.

I can only laugh about this, because it reminds of the old adage, “Turnabout is fair play”. Years ago, when the ORP sent out mailers to promote their incumbent members, they emblazoned the postcards with a logo that proclaimed “Tea Party Values”.

One last note about Mr. Witte’s race. He is challenging incumbent member Matt Cox. Cox was recently featured in the blog RedState for being a big donor to Democrats, including Sherrod Brown, Chris Redfern and John P. Carney, among others.

Some of the names many not be familiar, but John Carney was running to unseat Republican Dave Yost who is the Ohio Auditor of State. Chris Redfern is the former Chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party and a former member of the Ohio House of Representatives. Sherrod Brown is a left wing Democrat who defeated Josh Mandel (currently the Ohio State Treasurer) in 2012 in his re-election fight.

It doesn’t make much sense his PAC gave money to candidates looking to defeat Republicans.

Cox was appointed to his current seat on the SCC on the recommendation of Chairman Borges, after Bob Rousseau passed away while occupying the position.

Yes, you heard that right. Borges recommended and placed on the Republican SCC a person who donated major funds to defeat the same Republicans that the ORP was trying to elect or reelect.

I can tell you one thing. I have never seen such an effort in a SCC race. Witte and Penton Hill have blanketed the district with signs, which is pretty unheard of in these types of races. (Apologies for the poor picture, it was obviously raining!) The handwritten note on their postcard was also a nice touch. They are working hard.





There is also a second challenger in the race, but I have yet to see any campaigning from that party. Whether Cox continues to hold his seat or he is replaced will be up to the GOP voters of Lorain and Huron Counties on March 15th.

Author: Nick

I was born and raised in Ohio. After growing up in the Columbus area, I moved to Cleveland to study at Case Western Reserve University, and have lived in Northeast Ohio ever since. I live in Wellington with my wife and son. I work in the private sector and have never worked in the political field.

5 thoughts on “ORP cries foul over logo use on mailers”

  1. I am not one bit surprised at the ORP’s efforts to kill dissent. This is just one more example why I feel completely betrayed by the GOPe in every way. They are more concerned about their power and money than they are about We The People or our country. They take our votes and our money and stab us in the back. They created the Cult of Trump. The chickens have truly come home to roost. And Matt Borges, Rob Portman, John Kasich, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, John McCain, the ORP, the GOP and all the rest of the GOPe are dead to me now.

    “I know it was you, Fredo.”

    1. What Bryan said! This short review of a famous story might apply see if it is hard to figure out who is who:

      In Shelley’s Gothic story, Victor Frankenstein builds the creature in his laboratory through an ambiguous method consisting of chemistry and alchemy. Shelley describes the monster as 8-foot-tall, hideously ugly, but sensitive and emotional. The monster attempts to fit into human society, but is shunned, which leads him to seek revenge against his creator….[1]

  2. I’m curious about something – has the Ohio Republican Party done anything to prepare for November’s election? You know, the one where Rob Portman will be on the ballot along with Ohio’s Electoral College votes. If they have, they’ve done a great job hiding it. This crap isn’t going to help us win anything.

    1. I don’t think they have done much Jeff. I have worked on every Republican presidential campaign in Ohio since 1979. You hear all about the high tech targeted canvasing that the democrats did in 2008 and then enhanced it Google/fFacebook/purchasing data in 2012. Meanwhile for the GOP side it is being done with the same old time worn voter lists — filled with errors and with people who do not exist. The staff working the “GOP Victory Centers” that I have dealt with are hired gun, 20 – 30ish types who are mostly interested in VOLUME – – i.e., doors knocked on and calls made — they are less interested in QUALITY contacts. They seem to pay less attention to the process of filtering and screening the collected data and as a result send canvassers back to the same houses multiple times. Waste of scarce time and precious staff. It does not surprise me at all that in Hamilton County we knocked on more doors for Romney than any other candidate in history of the county and still collected thousands FEWER GOP votes for Mitt in 2012 than we got for W in 2004. ORP is counting on the democrats to hand them another debacle like Fitzgerald so they can look good. These are the “moderate” republicans who always know best.

  3. No sooner did I write that “nothing is new” when I got wind some encouraging applications of technology to the canvassing process in Ohiol — but since no one authorized me to talk about it i won’t. It appears that I stand corrected.

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