Ohio Democratic Party

There’s an old saw that says the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

Some people are applying that to the Ohio Democratic Party executive committee’s decision a week ago to endorse former governor Ted Strickland over Cincinnati city council member P.G. Sittenfeld in the 2016 Democratic primary for Republican incumbent Rob Portman’s U.S. Senate seat.

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.

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson spoke with Maryanne Zeleznik about three Cincinnati Democrats who could play a role in re-building the Ohio Democratic Party.

Yes, the Nov. 4 election was a complete train wreck for the Ohio Democratic Party.

The gubernatorial candidate, Ed FitzGerald, was so abysmally weak that he took only 33 percent of the vote again incumbent Republican John Kasich – the worst drubbing of a Democratic candidate for governor since an unknown state senator named Rob Burch had 25 percent of the vote against popular GOP incumbent George Voinovich in 1994.

Bill Clinton

The Ohio Democratic Party has landed former President Bill Clinton to be the featured speaker at its annual Legacy Dinner in June, just as the statewide campaigns are going into full swing.

The fundraising event will be on Friday, June 13 in Columbus. Party leaders are hoping the presence of Clinton will fire up the party faithful for a fall campaign where they have the daunting task of trying to win back all the statewide offices, from governor on down.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, the state’s chief election officer, put out a rather cheery press release this week to let Ohio voters know how well off they are when it comes to early voting.

“Voting in Ohio is easy,” the headline read, accompanied by a multi-colored graphic showing Ohio and its multiple ways of voting, alongside mean old states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky, which Husted said don’t afford voters so many opportunities.