The Primary- Part One
Although the official results will not be certified until next week, Part One of the 2022 Primary Election is in the books. Of Clermont County’s 11,645 registered Democrats, 4,606 (39.55%) cast a primary ballot.
Welcome to a New Central Committee
Every even numbered year Clermont County Democrats vote in a new Party Central Committee. This year we elected seventy-two members to our Central Committee. Many of those people are returning members. I thank each of you for your continuing service to our Party and our County. However, we also elected many new Central Committee members. I welcome each of our new members and thank you for making a commitment to our Party. I look forward to the new ideas and new energy you will bring to our Party. Please do not ever hesitate to contact me if you want to talk about anything affecting our Party.
Where We Are
We have a big task in front of us. We elected Central Committee members from seventy-two precincts, however, the County has 168 precincts. In other words, we lack a Democratic Central Committee person in ninety-six of the County’s precincts. We have not elected a Democrat countywide since the early 1980s, and that was in an uncontested, non-partisan race.
We are not alone here in Clermont County. It has been since 1990 that Ohio has elected a Democrat as Governor. Republicans have held a majority of the seats in the Ohio Senate since 1992. Their current majority is 25 to 8. Republicans have won a majority of seats in the Ohio House in every election since 1994, except for 2008. Currently, Republicans hold sixty-four of the 99 House seats. While we are justly proud that President Obama won Ohio in both 2008 and 2012, it is worth remembering that President Obama only won twenty-two of Ohio’s 88 counties in 2008 and only seventeen counties in 2012. If you subtract the vote in five urban counties, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Lucas, and Montgomery, John McCain would have carried Ohio in 2008 and Mitt Romney would have won here in 2012.
The point is not that we have lost Ohio. We have not. The point is that Clermont County is not uniquely red. Our Party has work to do all over the State. More important going forward, today’s Republican Party is not the party of John McCain and Mitt Romney. Today’s Republican Party is a personality cult for one loathsome individual.
Where We Are Going
To win back Clermont County, we must win back Ohio. 2022 provides an opportunity to start. Primary Election Part One was historic because we nominated the first woman to ever be a major party candidate for Governor of Ohio. While Ohio is past due for a woman Governor, that isn’t the reason we all need to work hard and get Nan Whaley elected. Gender aside, we need Nan as Governor because she will do a much better job than Mike DeWine. Equally important is electing Chelsea Clark as Ohio Secretary of State and Taylor Sappington as Ohio State Auditor. Why are those three races so critical?
The high probability that we will be electing candidates for the General Assembly in illegal districts drawn to preserve Republican super-majorities in a second primary in August is the reason it is vital to elect Nan Whaley, Chelsea Clark, and Taylor Sappington in November.
The Redistricting Commission has seven members: the Governor, the Secretary of State, the State Auditor, and a Republican and a Democrat from each of the Ohio Senate and Ohio House. The reason we will probably have illegal districts this year is because currently five of those seven people on the Redistricting Commission are Republicans. There will always be at least two Republicans and two Democrats on the Redistricting Commission. The difference will be determined by who is elected Governor, Secretary of State, and State Auditor.
The Redistricting Commission will, almost certainly, have to draw new districts for the 2024 General Assembly elections. To win back Ohio and arrest its slide, we must have a Democratic majority on the Commission. We can only achieve that by electing Nan, Chelsea, and Taylor in November. Whether or not those three candidates win Clermont County, we can get them enough votes here to help them win statewide. That is the first step towards redeeming our State and our County.
Of course, it is also important to elect Tim Ryan to the U.S. Senate in November. The Senate is currently divided 50-50. If we elect Tim Ryan we will flip the seat from the outgoing Republican to a Democrat. Mr. Ryan’s opponent in November has become an acolyte in the Republican personality cult. This Country does not need any more Senators whose guiding principle is whatever trump wants.
The Primary -Part Two
The May primary did not end our 2022 primary election. While the exact date has yet to be determined, we will have another primary election, probably in August. In Clermont County, this primary will elect candidates for two Ohio House Districts and a man and woman to our Democratic State Central Committee.
Absent something extraordinary, we will be voting in this second primary for candidates to run for Ohio House districts which the Ohio Supreme Court has already declared illegally gerrymandered. We will be doing that because a federal court in Columbus has said that, unless the state government agrees on something different, it will order the election to proceed using the gerrymandered districts created by the Republican majority on the Ohio Redistricting Commission.
Another thing we do in every even-numbered year is reorganize our county party. Our elected Central Committee members meet to elect the Central Committee officers and to elect an Executive Committee member from each township and city in the County. The new Executive Committee then elects our Executive Committee officers. By state law, we cannot do that until six days after the Board of Elections certifies the May primary election results and we must do it no later than fifteen days after certification.
Covid is not gone, and we do not want anyone to feel that she or he must choose between staying safe and exercising her or his right to vote as a Central Committee member. Thus, as we did two years ago, the reorganization meeting will be held via Zoom through a Zoom account owned and operated by the Ohio Democratic Party. That means ODP will determine when the meeting occurs. We expect it will be on the morning of Saturday, June 4. Formal notice will be sent to each Central Committee member, including the Zoom link. Notice will also be posted at the Board of Elections in Batavia. The reorganization meeting is public by ODP and Democratic National Committee rules. It will be livestreamed. Anyone interested in watching should contact me for details.
Among the things we will do at the reorganization meeting is to elect our Executive Committee Chair for the next two years. It has been my privilege to serve in this position and work with Democrats across our County and our State. As I said above, I think 2022 offers us an opportunity to begin reclaiming our State and Clermont County has a significant role to play in that. We are getting more Democrats elected to local offices and 2023 will offer us the opportunity to add to those numbers. I cannot say that we’ve turned the corner, but we are turning.
I respectfully ask for the votes of everyone elected to our Executive Committee, and the support of all Central Committee members, to serve two more years as the Chair of this great party. Together, we can complete the turn.
Take care. Stay safe. Vote! Volunteer!