Critics Say Ohio GOP Chair Jane Timken Shows Lack of Support for Conservative Women


Ohio Republican Party Chair Jane Timken has some members concerned that she has a “woman problem.”

Evidence shows she consistently supports male candidates in lieu of those viewed as strong, conservative females. Lately she has also shown she is more likely to be soft with elected Republican men who get into trouble while being harsh with right-leaning female officials.

The latest example of Timken’s alleged bias was her call for the resignation of State Rep. Candice Keller (R-Middletown) due to Keller’s social media remarks in response to the mass shooting in Dayton.

Two years ago, Timken suggested a male state representative should resign if allegations arising from a DUI arrest were true. She stopped short of calling for his immediate resignation, though. Former State Rep. Wes Retherford (R-Hamilton) was found passed out drunk in his car, a loaded gun within reach.

“The Ohio Republican Party must be represented by elected officials who have the confidence of their constituents and the discipline to govern,” Timken was quoted as saying in The Cincinnati Enquirer in March 2017. “Unfortunately, the allegations against Representative Retherford have called both into question. If these allegations are true, Representative Retherford should resign from office.”

Timken’s response to the recent brouhaha over the Keller comments was more direct. In at statement to The Hill, Timken said, “While our nation was in utter shock over the acts of violence in El Paso and Dayton, Republican State Representative Candice Keller took to social media to state why she thought these acts were happening. Candice Keller’s Facebook post was shocking and utterly unjustifiable.”

“Our nation is reeling from these senseless acts of violence and public servants should be working to bring our communities together, not promoting divisiveness. I’m calling on Candice Keller to resign,” she added.

According to State and County Republican Central Committee members and several elected officials, all who prefer to remain anonymous, it is not the first time Timken failed to support a Republican woman.

Last election cycle, there were three high profile Republican primaries pitting men against female candidates who were viewed as strong conservatives. Timken did not openly support the woman in any of these races. Her family donated over $20,000 to one of the male candidates before the primary election.

The most prominent race was the gubernatorial primary, pitting then-Attorney General Mike DeWine against then-Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor. The Republican State Central Committee endorsed DeWine – an action which is not mandatory in a primary and was unopposed by Timken.

Taylor had grassroots support. That support was in spite of form Gov. John Kasich’s backing, which was widely perceived to be a negative with the conservative base. Taylor was, according to gun groups, a strong Second Amendment supporter with her own concealed carry license. She also publicly opposed Kasich’s medicaid expansion. Taylor earned the endorsement of Ohio’s Citizens PAC, the Tea Party’s political action committee, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.


The lieutenant governor was not the only conservative GOP woman who didn’t receive the support of her chairwoman. Melanie Leneghan ran against then-State Sen. Troy Balderson for the 12th Congressional seat relinquished by Pat Tiberi. Leneghan, a Trump supporter and trustee with a record of cutting the size and cost of government, said she received no public support from her party leader.

“I was clearly the conservative in the race,” Leneghan said to The Ohio Star. “All the conservative groups endorsed me. Jim Jordan endorsed me. Mrs. Timken did not weigh in.”

Leneghan lost to Balderson by less than 700 votes.

Former State Rep. Christian Hagan also had issues with Timken. Hagan was the darling of the socially conservative side of the Republican Party, having been the key sponsor of the heartbeat bill. She was running for Congress against political neophyte and former Ohio State University football player Anthony Gonzalez.

“Being a conservative woman means being willing to stand against the perpetual breakdown of family, culture and fiscal responsibility,” Hagan told The Ohio Star. “This fight and dedication to conservative convictions as a candidate leaves you alone in moments and in years of abandonment by the very establishment party that claims to have once represented your policy purposes and beliefs.”

“Not only do they abandon you, they quietly and intensely work behind the scenes to drown out your ambitions and sink your viability by supporting and endorsing your opponent nearly every step of the way. So why do we fight anyway?” Hagan asked. “Because we believe in our children’s right to a future not riddled with confusion, massive debt and socialism spread so far and so wide that our country’s premise of freedom is hardly recognizable.”

“Defending the future means defending the tenets of our party’s platform, a platform that the establishment sold out a long time ago for corporate wealth, cultural acceptance and fleeting moments of fame. If you take a look deeper and past the bought and paid for headlines, it is easy to see why they don’t want conservative champions actually in the conversation,” shared Hagan. “Because if they allow our presence at a decision making table, or even worse near a press conference, they might, for once, just have to do what they say they do.”

Candice Keller was asked whether or not Timken had contacted her directly and requested her resignation. The state representative stated that Timken “never talked to her or anyone from her office.”

“Never received any documentation from her office at my office or here at my house. Nothing.”

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Beth Lear is a reporter at The Ohio Star.  Follow Beth on Twitter.  Email tips to [email protected].






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