What Will 66 Ohio Republicans Do Tomorrow?

The 66 members of the Ohio Republican State Central Committee will gather tomorrow to make the choice whether to retain Kasich-loyalist Matt Borges or support challenger and Trump-supporter Jane Timken. There are a ton of resources gathered over the last few months by ThirdBasePolitics, and I will refer you to their website for the background information. Suffice it to say that as Chairman of the Ohio Republican Party, Matt Borges’ stumblings have made plain a clumsy scheme to make Gov. John Kasich 1) the 2016 GOP nominee, and afterwards 2) the heir apparent for the 2020 GOP nomination. In a state where Donald Trump won by 8 points, this does not sit well with the many Ohio Republicans.

Timken has garnered support from many county GOP Chairs as well as other grassroots organizations, suggesting a very strained relationship between the state party and the county parties since Borges took the helm. It is very difficult to believe Matt Borges can suddenly flip and be supportive of people who he has offended over the last few years.

Additionally, Borges has lost the support of Rep. Bob Gibbs. Matt Borges ran Gibbs’ Congressional campaign in 2010, winning in a 5-man primary and then beating an incumbent Democrat in north-central rural Ohio. Jane Timken is from Canton, which is in Gibbs’ district so he may have felt some divided loyalties, but Gibbs clearly describes the problems he sees with the leadership of Matt Borges. (Columbus Dispatch article)

Yet despite all the reasons to support Timken over Borges, junk barges turn very slowly in the capital whether it’s Washington DC or Columbus. Borges could very handily win tomorrow’s election as enough central committee sheep follow the leader they know as opposed to the one they don’t. Power-building and resume-padding are common elements with people who choose to be in political positions, and Chairman Borges will make the next two years very easy for some and quite difficult for others.

A Chairman Timken may do the same thing of course, but she has the backing of the multitude of smaller fish in Ohio. John Kasich is a lame duck and the 2018 Governor’s race will likely see a primary between AG Mike DeWine, SoS John Husted, and maybe Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor. DeWine is already gobbling up Kasich staff, so it’s incredibly clear to which candidate Borges will lead the party. For the sake of Ohio state politics and for our relations with the National Republican Committee, I hope enough central committee members make the right choice tomorrow and support Jane Timken for ORP Chair.