Last week, I wrote a post about the politics-as-usual antics of the Ohio GOP. Aside from the self-promotion of the State Central Committee members endorsing themselves, there was a challenge regarding the residency of one of its members. This member, Gary Burkholder, is not a yes-man for the Ohio GOP establishemt, so when it was learned that he had taken a job for another county, his residency was silently challenged and the GOP left his name off of the list of endorsed incumbents. Check out the video from the previous post to see the public back-and-forth between Burkholder and Ohio GOP Chair Matt Borges.
Burkholder’s home county, Licking County, held a hearing on Tuesday and unanimously found that the GOP’s residency challenged was unfounded. The individual who had filed the complaint did not even show up for the hearing. Burkholder does have primary challengers himself for this State Central Committee seat and it is unclear whether the Ohio GOP will add his name to the list of endorsed incumbents.
Within the comments of the previous post came a discussion of the “Precinct Project.” Cold Warrior’s description is one of the best, and here is the site used in Ohio, but it essentially encourages conservatives to start acting like community organizers and turn that position into a force for conservatism. Back in the 70’s, radical liberals began knocking on doors, getting signatures on petitions, and then running for small offices like precinct chairman. A person might only need 100 votes to win a precinct seat, but that seat suddenly gives you influence over other seats within the county or even the state. And the purpose of these community organizers wasn’t to force the election of a radical liberal in 1980; the purpose was to make it seem natural to elect a radical liberal in 2008.
I was initially skeptical as to why these little dinky seats mattered. But then I was asked, why did John Boehner recruit a person to run against the conservative incumbent precinct chair, who is now part of Ohio Rising, in his own precinct? Why did a number of Ohio County Republican Parties change their terms from two years to four years after 2010 when tea party activists began showing up and asking questions? Why did some county parties change the eligibility rules after 2010 to say that you must have voted in the Republican primary over the last three election cycles which disqualified the “Operation Chaos” voter from 2008? Am I reading too much into the tea leaves? Then why does Matt Borges want to leave Gary Burkholder off of the endorsement list?
In addition to challenges to Ohio’s GOP State Central Committee members, there are a number of County Republican Parties who might get a rude awakening on Wednesday, March 16. I don’t know how many Precinct Project Warriors are out there, and I can’t wait to find out.