Ohio Democratic Party

Jo Ingles / Ohio Public Radio

It wasn’t a surprise.  David Pepper received unanimous backing from executive committee members Tuesday night to become the new chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party.

The party’s executive committee met Tuesday night in Columbus. In the end, it was a sweep for Pepper, after his opponent, former lieutenant governor candidate Sharen Neuhardt of Dayton, dropped out of the race Monday.

Pepper says he thinks the party needs to more clearly define its core message of supporting working Ohioans.

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Cincinnati's David Pepper will be the new Ohio Democratic Party chairman now that his only opponent for the job has dropped out of the race.

Sharen Neuhardt, the Dayton Democrat who was the losing candidate for lieutenant governor this year, sent an e-mail to her supporters today (Monday) saying she was getting out of the race to replace state party chairman Chris Redfern. Redfern resigned after the November election, when the Democrats lost all statewide races.

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with Maryanne Zeleznik this morning about the increasing likelihood that Cincinnati's David Pepper will become the new Ohio Democratic Party chairman Tuesday night.

It is looking more and more probable that when the Ohio Democratic Party’s executive committee meets Tuesday night in Columbus, it will pick Cincinnati’s David Pepper as the new state party chairman.

And Pepper – the former city council member and Hamilton County commissioner who ran and lost the race for Ohio Attorney General this year – will then have the unenviable task of picking up the pieces of a political party that was shattered in this year’s election.

Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune had a really bad experience with the Ohio Democratic Party early this year – especially with state party chairman Chris Redfern.

Last December, Portune – the only Democrat on the county commission – started crisscrossing the state in an attempt to build support to run for Ohio governor.

The problem was that Portune started too late – Ed FitzGerald, the Cuyahoga County executive – had been campaigning since early in 2013; and had already wrapped up the party establishment and the endorsement of the state party.

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