A rift in the Ohio Republican Party became public this weekend, raising questions about GOP unity in one of the nation’s most important presidential swing states.
During a speech Friday to the state’s Republican Central Committee, state party Chairman Kevin DeWine accused Gov. John Kasich’s political team of recruiting candidates to oust the party’s central committee members, calling those efforts “the elephant in the room.”
“I’ve spoken with many of you over the last few weeks as the governor’s political team and others have begun aggressively recruiting candidates to challenge those of you in the room. Your emotions range from curiosity to disappointment to annoyance to anger, fear, and disgust,” Mr. DeWine said, according to a transcript of the speech provided by the party. “If we do not address the elephant in the room, then the donkey in the White House will win four more years.”
My emotions range from curiosity to disappointment to annoyance to anger, fear, and disgust when I look at Governor Kasich too, but I’m dealing. I think it’s good Republicans are meeting and talking through feelings, though.
In a memo Friday night to the House GOP caucus, Speaker William Batchelder wrote that Ohio Republican Party Chairman Kevin DeWine exhibited “questionable leadership tactics and poor decision making.”
In his memo, Batchelder writes that he had been reluctant to publicly discuss frustrations about state party operations. He concludes that “we cannot have a situation where the state party, and the Governor, and the Speaker of the House do not have a trusting and cooperative partnership.”
And then this response:
In an email response to Batchelder, DeWine wrote that he is troubled that the speaker decided to criticize him and the state GOP “in a very public manner” instead of discussing their problems privately.
DeWine said he was not being critical of the governor in his speech Friday, but rather the people surrounding Ohio’s chief executive. “I referenced Governor Kasich’s team because I worry that are not serving him or our party. Whenever an elected official has people around him who are motivated by ego, power, or profit, friends of that elected official owe him the courtesy of a warning that he deserves better counsel.”
Profit! He just put it right out there.
Hopefully this public dialogue between the two warring factions will continue, and we’ll learn which people “around” Governor Kasich (but NOT Governor Kasich) are motivated by profit.