Skip to comments.Ohio Party Bosses Try to SHUT OUT TEA PARTY Congressional Candidate Paul Schiffer
Posted on 12/17/2009 5:33:47 AM PST by Moseley
The early campaign for the 2010 Republican nomination for the 16th Congressional District seat has spurred a letter-writing campaign, generating accusations that GOP party bosses are trying to circumvent voters.
At the center of the storm is a letter from the district's four Republican Party county chairmen claiming Jim Renacci of Wadsworth is the "best candidate" to defeat first-term incumbent Democrat John Boccieri in a potential showdown that is drawing national attention.
The letter did not mention the other two declared candidates, former Ashland County commissioner Matt Miller and conservative talk radio host and Canton resident Paul Schiffer.
GOP party chairmen from the 16th District's four counties -- Ashland, Medina, Wayne and Stark -- disagree on whether the letter represents an "endorsement" or statement of "support."
However, at least one active Ashland County Republican is concerned about the letter. Upon receiving it, Dennis Ragle of Nova -- a Miller supporter who does not live in the 16th District but rather the 5th District -- sent his own letter to the party chairmen. In it, he said the party has "attempted to bypass the people's vote and that is outrageous."
"You took 15 individuals who had expressed some desire to possibly run for election and told them, 'You need not apply; we have decided who our choice is,' " Ragle's letter states. "Do you not see the chilling effect to the democratic process? Who are you to discourage anyone from seeking to serve the American people?"
While Ashland County GOP chair Bob DeSanto's name appears on the county chairmen's letter, he said in his own Nov. 24 letter to Ashland County Central Committee members he did not sign "a recent endorsement letter because it gave the impression that the chairmen were unanimous in opinion and we were not."
"Both (Renacci and Miller) are good men and both in my judgment could win in the general election," DeSanto wrote. "I voted against any endorsement by the chairman, but if we did endorse then I voted for Miller."
When asked about Ragle's letter, DeSanto said he thought it was "thoughtful and expressed a point a view I don't share."
Identifying "best candidate"
The chairmen's letter is addressed to the "Voters of the 16th District," and was distributed to Republicans by the Renacci campaign in mid-November. Renacci said his campaign began sending out the letter in campaign packets because "it seems like everywhere I go people were questioning the chairmen's process, and we just said we'll put the process out."
The letter explains the chairmen met in February 2009 to "establish a process to identify the best candidate" to square off in November 2010 against first-term incumbent Democrat Boccieri, who in 2008 won the seat after the retirement of Republican Congressman Ralph Regula, who filled the seat for 36 years.
From then until June, the chairmen met several times and "felt it was necessary to look at all possible candidates and suggest one that we believe can best win the 2010 general election," according to the chairmen's letter.
The chairmen developed a questionnaire that was sent to 15 people with a total of 11 potential candidates going through the process. Six had face-to-face interviews, and in the end, three of the four chairmen agreed on Renacci, a Wadsworth businessman and former mayor of the city.
"Mr. Renacci's serious intention to run, along with his preparation, personal resources and contact network throughout the district, clearly positions Mr. Renacci as the best candidate for the 16th Congressional District," the letter states. "Please be advised that based on this process, we as county chairmen will be supporting Mr. Renacci's bid to unseat John Boccieri and hope that you will be joining us."
Schiffer, who considers himself the "Tea Party candidate," said he was not invited to be a part of the process.
"I've got a proven track record with the Republican Party, they know me as the conservative activist in the party for the past 20 years," Schiffer said. "And they have this meeting to decided who best to select, and I disagree with the entire support process."
Renacci announced he was running Aug. 25, Miller announced Sept. 11 and Schiffer made a low-key announcement in Canton and said he's been involved with Tea Parties during the past year.
Others bucking GOP bosses?
When asked if he was going against the party's wishes by running, Miller said it "depends on which chairman you ask."
Medina County chairman Bill Heck said Miller is not bucking the party leadership's wishes by running, saying "it's a primary, anyone can run." Heck also said he sees the letter as "support, not an endorsement" of Renacci.
Jim Smail, chairman of the Wayne County Republican Party, said the process is not entirely unique on a national basis. The chairmen of the four counties were acting like a candidate committee with all the known candidates who intended to run in the 2010 election, he said.
Stark County Republican chairman Jeff Mathews could not be reached for comment despite repeated attempts.
Renacci said he was contacted in May or June and was asked if he was willing to be a part of the process.
"I had no idea who the chairmen were when the process was designed," Renacci said. "There were 11 candidates who got involved, so at that time, the 11 candidates must have felt the process was a reasonable process."
Miller said he was invited to be a part of the process and agreed to answer all the chairmen's questions. He said he made it clear his decision to run would "not be based solely on whether I received the endorsement from a particular individual or party."
Miller said there is a reason the system allows primaries before the general election.
"When political parties and political leaders begin manipulating the primary election and strong arm people to get out of the race, you oftentimes get candidates that don't accurately represent the will of the people and aren't necessarily the best candidate to represent their political party," Miller said.
Schiffer said with the grassroots support from the Tea Parties, this is "not the year for the party boss bull----."
"I think the process sucks, I think it's undemocratic and I don't think these are the times for this," he said.
Decides not to run
Larry Carlson, Medina resident and co-owner of Original Mattress Factory, also went through the process as a potential candidate. He said the goal was, and is, to defeat Boccieri, and the party chairmen were doing their "due diligence" in trying to find the best candidate.
He said the questions were good questions and made him think, and they also probably helped Renacci.
He said no one told him he couldn't run, and one of the questions candidates were asked was whether they would run if they did not get support from the chairmen. At the time, he said he didn't know if he would, but he has since decided not to.
"I feel like I don't want be divisive to the party, and I think the candidate they picked was the best candidate for the job of defeating Boccieri," Carlson said.
Carlson said if he would have decided to run, he would have "watered down my chances of winning and watered down Renacci's chances of winning." He said Miller is watering down the Republicans' chances of winning.
"Matt Miller doesn't have the financial backing to really go against the flow as much as he wants to go against the flow," Carlson said. "I think he's a good guy, I have no problem with him as a person and I've told him that. But surely he would water the Republicans' chances down somewhat."
Carlson also said Republicans should be running against Boccieri, not each other.
"If I had decided to run in the primary and I decided to put my money into it, certainly it would have forced Renacci into upping his bid and trying beat me," he said. "It would have drained the pot and weakened his stance, so the answer is yes. That does affect him and Matt running will probably affect him, too."
Miller said the process has not discouraged his campaign.
"I'm not running for Congress because I want to do what's best for my political party, I'm running for Congress because I believe things are taking place in America right now that will have a devastating impact on our future," he said.
Schiffer said he intends to win the primary.
"I can't wait to see the looks on their faces when I pull this off and they need to come to me because they need an 'R' in there," he said.
Renacci said he was picked by the chairmen based on his message.
"People are concerned with jobs, economy and health care right now, and I'm the one with the most experience with jobs and health care, and I'm pretty proud of that."
The Daily Record of Wooster contributed to this story.
he did not even know who the Republican leaders were.
This was not an experienced Republican player. They just picked someone who was NOT a real conservative.
"I had no idea who the chairmen were when the process was designed," Renacci said.
Looks like NY-23 all over again. When will Sarah, Glenn and Rush enter the battle? Soon, I hope.
We need a SECOND one.
I’ve been saying the same thing for over a year. There is no longer an opposition party to the Demrat party in America. The GOP has been coopted by the dems via their RINO surrogates.
To those who think conservatives can somehow “take back” the GOP this story underscores my point that the RINOs will not give it back.
They will when the Tea Party Patriots and several million good American people make it clear that it is their best interest to fully support Tea Party candidates. Even Michael Steele was making friendly sounds yesterday.
Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say 'what should be the reward of such sacrifices?' Bid us and our posterity bow the knee, supplicate the friendship and plough, and sow, and reap, to glut the avarice of the men who have let loose on us the dogs of war to riot in our blood and hunt us from the face of the earth? If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!
And that's a bad thing?
They just picked someone who was NOT a real conservative.
Any examples or proof that he's not a conservative?
God bless him.
How is that?
There is a primary in May as there was none in NY-23
Dede was a crony and a liberal, Renacci is neither.
Besides Miller and Schiffer ran, and lost, in the primary back in 2008 (and will again).
How do these “party bosses” get to BE party bosses?
Are they elected? vote them out
Are they appointed by committee? get on the committee
Did they just arrogate their position? push them out
Because the GOP ran such a "moderate" candidate, we almost ended up with President Algore.
Looks like the GOP still hasn't learned much since then.
If they cling to the door handle and refuse to leave, taser them...
A) The GOP has learned nothing from experience
B) Their goal is to drive conservatives out of the party entirely because
C) They would rather be in complete control of a minority party than have a winning party guided by conservatives and conservative principles.
D) This is why we must take over the party, not leave
I got my fund raising “survey” from Michael Steele yesterday. I sent it back with NO RINOS in big letters, and said if you want money, the first thing to do is resign.
If I may, it’s not about conservative credentials. It’s about what the party apparatchiks are trying to do.
There is a solution if you think your local party is being mismanaged.
Step 1. Get elected or appointed to your precinct committee slot.
Step 2. Recruit a lot of like minded people. Most counties have lots of open slots.
Step 3. Vote down such actions and/or oust the party chairman.
Make all elections national, Period.
Nothing there I disagree with and a lot I do agree with. Just because someone is chosen by the party chairman doesn’t automatically disqualify them from consideration by conservatives.
The new poll puts the TEA PARTY as more popular that the Crats or the Pubs. The Natives are restless out here.
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