Changes in the Republican Party are not just happening in DC – they are also happening in Ohio. The State Central Committee voted January 6th to elect a new Chairwoman, Jane Timken.
This was a very contentious race. Outgoing Chairman Matt Borges was backed heavily by the establishment Republicans in Ohio including Governor Kasich and potential gubernatorial candidate and Attorney General Mike DeWine. Mrs. Timken was supported by Mr. Trump and grassroots organizations.
The election was portrayed as a battle between Mr. Trump and Governor Kasich – and it was. Both men were making calls to State Central Committee members in the days leading up the election. Governor Kasich was making calls the day of the election while we were on the floor. I didn’t get calls because I was fully behind Jane from the start.
The difference between the candidates was very clear. Mr. Borges used the Ohio Republican Party to pick and choose the candidates that he wanted to win and used party resources to support them, including being lukewarm on the election of Mr. Trump.
Mrs. Timken presented a plan of transparency. She wants the party to be the support structure for all Republicans in Ohio, not just a select few. She also promised and has already begun supporting the County Chairman and reinstating the state party committees to plan events and strengthen the party.
There are 66 members of the State Central Committee. One member was absent at this meeting. We had to be present to vote and the candidate must receive 34 votes to win.
Both candidates were well represented by people on the floor. There were convincing speeches for the candidates.
The first vote was – 33 votes for Mrs. Timken and 32 votes for Chairman Borges. Neither one had the 34 votes needed to win. Chairman Borges took the microphone and said to the members that he would find a place for Mrs. Timken in the party, an odd move considering he was behind in the vote count. We took a quick recess. I heard that Governor Kasich was making phone calls to members directly.
We took a second vote – again the total 33 to 32 with Mrs. Timken in the lead. We took a second recess. The recess went on for 90 minutes. Chairman Borges retreated in a backroom. Jane walk around the members and was on hold. I talked to her and told her, no deals…. She was taken in the room and the decision was made, Jane was the new Chairman of the Ohio Republican Party and Matt would be Chairman Emeritus. Matt’s job has no salary, but he will be able to earn a commission for fundraising that he will do for the party over the next year. This will help with the bills of the Ohio Republican Party.
It was a very dramatic day, but it was necessary to move the Ohio Republican Party in a new direction.