Monday, May 03, 2010

One Other Thing To Watch Tomorrow

I suspect this blog's readers will be following a couple of races particularly closely: the HamCo Commission races and the Dem primaries for governor and OH-02. But the "under-card" is particularly rife with drama this year, and warrants some attention.

As the Enquirer reported a few weeks ago, during the primary, voters will choose the membership of both parties' central committees, on both the county and state level. The Tea Party* has fielded candidates of its own, mainly for the GOP committees.

The Cincinnati Tea Party seems to be figuring out that the GOP isn't as welcoming to Tea Partiers as the GOP's public pronouncement would lead one to believe. Kevin DeWine and Alex Triantafilou both publicly say that they're happy to see the Tea Party involved in Republican politics. But behind the scenes, both are trying to limit the influence the Tea Party will have on the GOP. The linked post details those efforts on the state level. But those efforts are occurring on the county level, too.

Take a look at tomorrow's ballot (scroll down to page 27). There are a lot of Republicans running for county central committee spots for the first time. Some are Tea Partiers. But a lot more of them are "establishment" Republicans. Many are employed in public service with elected Republicans as their supervisors.

There's clearly an internal struggle going on within the GOP. While they don't want the Tea Party running its own candidates (the best thing that could happen for the Democratic Party, on either a state, local, or national level, would be Tea Party candidates; think Ross Perot), but GOP leaders clearly fear that if the Tea Party has too much of a voice in the GOP's governing committees, current leaders (e.g., party chairs) could lose their positions to newcomers elected by the Tea Party. The establishment GOP/Tea Party rift even became publicly evident at the Mainstay debate the other night, with some harsh words by Chris Monzel for a prominent Democrat and a Tea Partier in the same sentence--though Monzel didn't point out the party affiliation of either person he mentioned. (Apparently, now that Monzel has received the Ohio Tea Party PAC's endorsement, he feels he no longer has any reason to be nice to Tea Party's members.)

The election of the county Democratic central committee is not without drama, either. As we've previously noted (via Howard Wilkinson), Darren Tolliver is challenging Tim Burke for the local party chairmanship. Tolliver is presently the treasurer of the HCDP and was a board member of CincyPAC. The central committee, elected tomorrow, will vote on the chairmanship in the next several weeks. I have no idea whether Tolliver will have the votes, but a wrestling match for the party's gavel hasn't happened around here in quite some time.

So while there are interesting races near the top of the ticket, don't forget to watch the "smaller" races, too. As Tip O'Neill famously quipped, "All politics is local," after all.

*Griff: Come on, man, time to start calling it the Tea Party and its members the Tea Partiers. (Yes, "teabaggers" was a term that its original members used first, without realizing the word's other meaning. But everyone knows the euphemism now.) Even if we disagree with them, they deserve at least to be called by the name they choose. A while back, I called out Alex Triantafilou for using "Democrat" rather than "Democratic" as an adjective. I'm more than a bit hypocritical if I don't call out Griff, too.

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