The deadline to file to run for the Clermont County Democratic Party Central Committee is 4:00 p.m. on February 2, 2022, a week from Wednesday. The first, and most important, thing our new Central Committee will do is meet to re-organize the Party. The Central Committee will elect a Central Committee Chair. They will then caucus by township and city to elect one of their number to represent their township or city on our Executive Committee. Once elected, the Executive Committee will immediately elect its Chair and our other Party officers.

This, then, is an appropriate time to assess where we are as a Party and where we are going.

We all know Clermont County is deep red. We have not elected a Democrat to a countywide office in decades. The best recent result for one of our Presidential candidates was in 2008, when President Obama won 33% of the vote in Clermont County. Despite running vastly more qualified candidates for Ohio House District 65 in 2018 and 2020, the best our candidates could do in the more heavily Democratic part of our County was 34% of the vote.

Our county is not diverse. We have very few members of the demographic groups who are typically strong Democratic voters. When we look at where we are in Clermont County, we must remember we are not alone. Republicans hold every elected executive office in Ohio state government and have super majorities in both Houses of the Ohio General Assembly.

This does not mean that we have not made progress since we last changed Party leadership in 2014. In 2018, Supreme Court Justice Michael Donnelly became the first statewide Democratic candidate to win Clermont County in years. Our best results tend to be in the northwest corner of the County where the largest number of Democrats live. That part of the County also has a strong group of Democratic volunteers. However, even in my Republican-voting precinct in the southwest corner of the County, with far fewer volunteers, we got over 40% of the vote for President Biden in 2020.

Statewide Democratic candidates are no longer ignoring Clermont County. Most of the 2022 statewide candidates have met with our Executive Committee:  Tim Ryan, Nan Whaley, John Cranley, Chelsea Clark, Judge Marilyn Zayas. Attorney General candidate Jeff Crossman is meeting with us Thursday night. Congressman and US Senate candidate Tim Ryan was in our headquarters in Batavia on January 6 and will be joining the Democracy in Action meeting on February 2. He and his staff have promised me that he will be back in our county this summer.

No one has a magic wand that will suddenly turn Clermont County blue. However, viewed fairly and honestly, the facts show that we are slowly moving in a good direction. This is a credit to the team we have. It needs to be much larger team, but it is a good team. We have an opportunity in 2022 for Clermont County to make a substantial contribution to electing a second Democrat as US Senator from Ohio and to electing Democrats to statewide offices. To grasp that opportunity, we need our team to keep working together.

What is the role of our County Party leaders? First, they are all volunteers. No one gets paid. Instead, we donate money to the Party and to our candidates. The Party leaders are not supposed to be the stars.         The stars are our candidates and our volunteers who canvass by knocking on doors, do literature drops, make phone calls, organize fundraisers, write postcards and get signatures on petitions. The Party leaders do the background things necessary to keep our Party going so that our stars will shine. Being a Party leader is not a “look at me” job. This is not the year to create divisions within our Party.

We all see an opportunity in 2022 for Clermont County to help send Democrats to the U.S. Senate and U.S. House to put President Biden’s proposals into law. We also have an opportunity to help break the total Republican control of our state government. Current Party leadership is committed to doing all we can to seize that opportunity.

Our Central Committee has grown significantly under the two women who have served as Central Committee Chair since 2014. However, we still do not have Central Committee members, also called precinct captains, in the majority of precincts in our County. There are whole townships from which we do not have any Central Committee members.

If you live in a precinct where we do not have a Central Committee member, please run for Central Committee. If you don’t know, I’ll be happy to tell you whether you live in an open precinct or give you the name and contact information for your Central Committee person.

You do not need signatures on a petition nor pay a filing fee to get on the ballot. You simply fill out the one-page form 2-M and file it with the Board of Elections at 76 South Riverside Drive, Batavia by 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 2, 2022. You can find the form online here. Your name will appear on the Democratic ballot in your precinct in the May primary. Vote for yourself and get your family and Democratic neighbors to vote for you and you’re on our next Central Committee. Then you will have a vote on who leads our Party for the next two years.