ORP has the wrong approach to primaries

At Kyle Sisk’s blog, Ben Keeler (of Keeler Political Report) has written a very thought-provoking guest post urging Republicans to close ranks behind Mike DeWine’s candidacy for Ohio Attorney General.  It’s so thought provoking that I wanted to share the many thoughts it provoked.  Due to some glitch, or, I don’t know what, I wasn’t able to post my thoughts there, so, for a change of pace, I’ll reproduce my thoughts here.  First, let me point to my prior posts about Mike DeWine and my beef with the ORP here, here, and here.  For good measure let me also reference a prior post wherein I report on a conversation I had with Kevin DeWine at a Lincoln Day Dinner (wanna go to a Lincoln Day Dinner?)  in Erie County back in 2008.

Here’s an excerpt of what Keeler has to say about the Ohio Auditor race, with Yost being handed the ORP’s endorsement for the primary:

” . . . people got mad and felt “betrayed” by Yost for switching races! Let me tell you something, Dave Yost did what any politician would have done.  Why, tell me, would have he stayed in the race for AG given the opportunity that fell in his lap?  “Hey, I can lose my primary race for AG, piss off a lot of important party members in the process, but my few loyal Facebook supporters will still be happy with me!” Hell no.  He did the smart thing for his career – he took the state backing for the Auditor’s race, and he will likely be the nominee this fall.  Not only did he help himself, but he helped the party out of a jam.  He did, however, subject himself to a few blog posts calling him a traitor.  I think he’ll live.”

Here’s an excerpt of how Keeler views the Ohio Attorney General race between Mike DeWine and Richard Cordray:

“DeWine is a better choice than Cordray for AG.  He can self-fund the race and along with his fundraising network, valuable dollars can be allotted to other races that have huge future ramifications for the state. Cordray will be forced to spend money on his own race as opposed to giving it away to other key contests.  Mike DeWine is more conservative than Cordray, even if he is opposed to Joe Blow owning an AK-47 to hunt rabbits.  Do you think Team Cordray would have rather faced DeWine or Yost?  If you answered “Yost” then either you are a) a liar, B) delusional or C) a combination thereof.  Instead of blasting him, we should be happy that a former two term senator wants to run for another statewide office and risk personal prestige and personal money in the process and win the office back for our party.”

Those of you who pay attention to my sidebar wherein I offer some explanation of why I’m referred to as a RINO may be wondering why I won’t back Mike DeWine.  And if you read that Kevin DeWine post, you may be mystified why someone who views the GOP as a big tent party is upset with the ORP for including Mike DeWine on the statewide slate.  Some may think I’m being hypocritical and inconsistent.  Therefore, I hope my following response helps demystify why I am supporting Seth Morgan, not  David Yost, for Ohio Auditor, why I am supporting Richard Cordray, not Mike DeWine, for Attorney General, and why I’m angry at the ORP.

I think of the GOP as a big tent party.  I don’t apply a purity test to candidates.  I voted for Pierce in the Senate primary of 2006, but voted for DeWine in the general election because I knew that he was a better choice than Sherrod Brown.

I voted for Jeannette Bradley in the Treasurer primary in 2006.  I felt she’d always been a good steward of the public’s trust when she’d held executive positions, so I didn’t buy into Sandy O’Brien’s argument that Bradley should have passed some litmus test on issues irrelevant to being a treasurer.  Nevertheless, in the fall, I voted for O’Brien over Cordray. O’Brien’s uncheckered tenure as Ashtabula County Auditor was sufficient to assure me she was up to the treasurer’s job, while Cordray was being the political opportunist that he is, because his career ambition is to be a politician, first and foremost.

I vote for the person, not the party.  I most often vote Republican, but I’ve voted for minor party candidates, I’ve voted for independent candidates, and I’ve even voted for Democrats.  With each matchup of candidates, I weigh the person in the balance. I weigh each alternative choice on the ballot.  I always vote in contested races.  I only leave races blank on my ballot if it’s an uncontested race and I don’t approve of the unopposed candidate.  I don’t give the Republican Party carte blanche to dictate how I’ll vote.

If Mike DeWine were running for Secretary of State against O’Shaughnessy, a person who seems likely to aid and abet the shenanigans of ACORN-type organizations every bit as much as Brunner did, I’d support Mike DeWine.

But that’s not the situation.

If Dave Yost had opposed Richard Cordray for Attorney General, I would have supported Yost because of his experience as a prosecutor that Cordray lacks.

But that’s not the situation.

With Yost in the Auditor race, his qualifications fall short of that of Seth Morgan, CPA.  I support Morgan.  If Yost wins the nomination over Morgan, I’ll support Yost against Pepper, but I don’t want Yost to win the nomination.  I want Morgan to win it.  Yost has prior experience as an auditor at the Delaware County level.  Pepper is not qualified in any way shape or form to be auditor.

Because of Mike DeWine’s wrongheaded views on the 2nd Amendment, he is, in my opinion, unfit for offices within the judicial branch, and he’s also unfit for Ohio Attorney General.  I can’t just sweep this issue under the rug in an Attorney General race.  It’s relevant.  Richard Cordray at least respects our 2nd Amendment rights.  To me, the decision is clearly cut-and-dried.  Cordray is the better AG candidate.

I am, of course, galled that the ORP cleared the primary for DeWine.  I think Yost had even more potential to win the nomination against DeWine than O’Brien did against Bradley back in 2006.  Even if Yost hadn’t won the nomination, he would have increased his name recognition for a future run for AG, because Mike DeWine will lose to Cordray whether or not DeWine has a contested primary.  If DeWine couldn’t prevail against the likes of Sherrod Brown, I see no way for him to pull this one out against Cordray.  Cordray is far more palatable than Sherrod Brown ever was.

I am also galled that the ORP doesn’t sit on the sidelines during contested primaries and trust the decisions about nominees that Republican primary voters will make.  The ORP acts like we don’t know what’s in our best interests, so they will make the decision for us.  That’s wrong! WRONG!!!!!  I think it’s wrong for the ORP to do everything within its power to squelch the campaigns of the likes of Ganley, O’Brien, and Morgan.  If Portman, Husted, and Yost really were the best candidates for those positions, the ORP shouldn’t have to resort to such malicious tactics.  Therefore, either the ORP doesn’t trust its own voters, or, for their own purposes apart from that of the voters, they wish to foist endorsed candidates upon us that aren’t as good as the unendorsed candidates.  Either way, the ORP is fully deserving of the scorn heaped upon it.