Perhaps the Ohio Republican Party thought that it had settled matters by intervening in the primary contests for Attorney General and Auditor.
The Auditor’s slot in the primary became vacant after current Auditor Mary Taylor, whose term expires in January, decided to be gubernatorial candidate John Kasich’s running mate.
Seth Morgan declared his candidacy shortly after Kasich and Taylor formalized their announcement.
Then the ORP, particularly Chief Kevin DeWine, intervened. State party officials convinced Delaware County Prosecutor Dave Yost, who had been running against former U.S. Senator Mike DeWine (second cousin of Kevin) and appeared to have the enthusiasm of grass-roots voters locked up, to switch to the Auditor’s race. Though Yost has served as a county auditor, the move made sense for only one reason: to protect DeWine from a challenge. Now Yost and Morgan are in a dogfight, with state party support and resources firmly in Yost’s corner.
So it appeared that the Ohio Republican Party held all the cards, and that DeWine and Yost would be AG and auditor shoo-ins in May’s primary.
Somebody forgot to tell Brown County Republicans. As Weapons of Mass Discussion blogger Mark Garbett, reports, they had a very different take on the situation, and delivered a clear message to the hidebound Ohio Republican establishment — what I like to call “The Shot Heard ‘Round Ohio”:
The people of Brown County told Kevin and Co. that they don’t agree with backroom deals and trying to take away the choice of the people. Tonight in Georgetown, in 2 of 3 key races with Kevin DeWine’s pawprints all over them, the people of Brown County started telling Columbus thanks but no thanks.
… (Mike) Dewine failed by double digit percentage points to win the endorsement, despite his 2nd cousin clearing the field for him. Wonder what Dave Yost was thinking as he prepared to discuss the auditor’s race?
… Seth Morgan took the podium and was electric. He discussed his humble beginnings as an outsider council member in Huber Heights and how he fought against incumbents and worked his way to the Ohio Statehouse. … While Dave Yost discussed experience as an auditor, Seth Morgan said he has experience standing up under pressure and doing what is right, and that is what Ohio need more than someone who could be charged with bowing to political pressures on backroom dealing. He discussed how he forced transparency in education in Ohio as well as taking on his own party to do not what was safe, but what is right, adn that we need more transparency and someone who will not bend to political pressure and his record has shown that.
… Seth Morgan won the endorsement with 75% of the vote, while Dave Yost garnered 13%.
… I hope other county parties continue to send the message that the Ohio Republican Party should stand for something other than expediency and backroom dealing.
If Mike DeWine thinks the coast is clear … maybe not. Hardin County attorney Steven Christopher is saying he’ll run “as a Tea Party Republican “against Dewine. Based on information I have learned, Christopher will likely be able to gather the signatures necessary to get on the primary ballot by Thursday’s deadline. Don’t discount the idea that even an underfunded ABM (Anyone But Mike) could pull off what would be a monumental upset.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.