COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Republican Party State Central Committee (SCC) voted 53-11 on Friday to elect Bob Paduchik chairman over candidate John Becker.
Paduchik will replace Jane Timken who resigned just weeks following her mid-January re-election to run for the U.S. Senate seat that will not be sought by the incumbent and two-term winner Rob Portman (R-OH).
The first candidate to speak was Paduchik who said that his focus over the next two years would be three-fold.
First, he committed to build financial resources and the organization to elect Republicans throughout the state. Second, he promised to give attention to urban areas where there are challenges – conversely, opportunities. Third, Paduchik said he would run the ORP as a service organization, treating its members as customers.
The former Ohio campaign director for Presidents George W. Bush and Donald J. Trump said he called members of the SCC to get their input prior to the election– a strategy he will employ as its leader. He said he discovered during the calls issues with the ORP endorsing candidates during the primary election, which Paduchik addressed by saying:
“I do not have an opinion on that for the committee. That is the committee’s decision to make. Sometimes a leader should lead and sometimes a leader should follow, and I think when it comes to endorsements by the State Central Committee, the chairman should follow. I will commit to you, however, that anytime we approach those issues, those will be done in a fair and transparent manner. I see that as the role of the chairman – to ensure that these things are done fairly and transparently as we move forward.”
In his speech Becker said he would: 1) reach the patriot and grassroots members of the party; 2) focus on Supreme Court elections, urban voters; 3) provide stability [serve the entire term]; 4) not rubber-stamp leadership initiatives; 5) raise funds from small-dollar donors, which would increase their buy-in.
During Becker’s speech, and before votes were cast by agenda, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost (R) left the meeting. The Ohio Star reached out to the AG’s office to ask why. Press Secretary Bethany McCorkle directed the inquiry to the Yost for Ohio team who provided a response through Nancy Natoce.
“The AG had a scheduling conflict and stayed for as much of the meeting as he could,” Natoce said. “He would have stayed for the entire duration if he were able to do so.”
While votes were cast, Ohio Secretary of State Frank Larose (R) talked to the group. In his closing remarks, LaRose endorsed Paduchik and seemingly compared a contested election for chairman as “complacency” and a move that diverted focus from battling Democrats.
“There’s nobody with a stronger winning record in the entire state of Ohio than Bob Paduchik. He’s a winner. He knows how to win elections. And let’s not take for granted this idea that Ohio has become a red state. That is hard-fought. And we cannot take that for granted,” LaRose said. “And we cannot for a moment become complacent. We have a saying in the military – complacency kills. The moment we start focusing on fighting amongst ourselves and not fighting the Democrats is when we will not be (inaudible) citizens of the United States.”
The Star contacted LaRose to get additional insight on the comments. LaRose’s spokesperson Maggie Sheehan said, “I’m sorry you missed the top of the Secretary’s remarks where he spoke fondly of Rep. Becker and made a point of congratulating whomever the winner may be. Additionally, Frank LaRose, a Republican, stands by his remark that it is his preference that Republicans beat Democrats.”
Following the election, Becker talked with The Star about the election, which he called fair, and said that he will fully support Paduchik. When asked what the top strategy of the Ohio GOP ought to be, he said that it should be the uphill but important objective of uniting grassroots supporters – a group he purports has been alienated by the 2020 Presidential Election shrouded in doubt, as well as disfavor of Republican Governor Mike DeWine.
Paduchik spoke briefly with The Star following the vote. He said he would do an interview in the future; however, he has not responded to messages before press time.
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Jack Windsor is Statehouse Reporter at The Ohio Star. Windsor is also an independent investigative reporter. Follow Jack on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Bob Paduchik” by 總統府. CC BY 2.0.