|Is Kasich Creating A Palace Guard in Ohio GOP?|
Kasich is trying to dump State GOP Chair Kevin DeWine, a power play that is growing bitter and angering Republicans in the run up to the 2012 presidential election versus Barack Obama. Democrats, of course, are enjoying the fray from the sidelines and hope it gets worse. There are signs their wishes are coming true. By recruiting Rebecca Heimlich, the Kasich forces put the squeeze on two state central committee candidates who had long made plans to run for the spot. Both may think that Rebecca Heimlich's appearance on the GOP ballot undercuts their work. And one of the candidates, Tea Party activist Maggi Cook, reportedly had her job at a construction industry trade association pressured because she wouldn't pull out of the race. The Daily Bellwether has been told that Cook was ballistic Friday after learning Kasich's backers had urged her bosses to get her to quit the District 8 GOP central committee contest. And anonymous e-mails have been flying:
"Thought you’d be interested in the backers of Rebecca Heimlich’s entry into this race – Kasich. Apparently they’ve abandoned their cheerleader, Lori Viars, in favor of a 'name' that they hope will win the seat. Heimlich, who wouldn’t be in the race if her last name was still Simpson, has never run for PE, doesn’t sit on any party committees, has not worked on any campaigns except for her husband’s. And that worked out well. Kasich’s people, in an effort to clear the decks, called another candidates job – that’s right, called someone in her chain of command, in an effort to push the only non-committed candidate out of the race. Apparently, wanting to defeat Sen Brown and not turn Ohio blue in 2012 is not the Kasich priority."
Lori Viars, whose name is mentioned in the e-mail, is a Christian Right social conservative and longtime Republican activist from Lebanon who filed for the central committee seat. Viars heads the Family First PAC and has been described as ardent in her support of Kasich during the 2010 governor's race against Democrat Ted Strickland. Some GOP'ers in SW Ohio say she was thrown under the bus when Rebecca Heimlich was recruited for the showdown against Kevin DeWine. As for DeWine, he told central committee members last week that Kasich's effort to dump him could help put Obama back in the White House:
“I’ve spoken with many of you over the last few weeks as the governor’s political team and others have begun aggressively recruiting candidates to challenge those of you in the room. Your emotions range from curiosity to disappointment to annoyance to anger, fear, and disgust. . . If we do not address the elephant in the room, then the donkey in the White House will win four more years.”
[UPDATE: 1:12 p.m. -- Republican blogger Matt Hurley calls the GOP's fight over the state party chairmanship fratricide. He also views the recruitment of Rebecca Heimlich as a move "affording the Republican Party an opportunity to piss off social conservatives, fiscal conservatives and the Tea Party." ]
[UPDATE 12/13/2011 9:14 a.m. -- "The Republicans are knifing each other in the back," says Ohio Daily, contending that Gov. Kasich's "lust for power" is likely to alienate the loyal GOP'ers who do all the work on the ground when campaign season comes around.]
[UPDATE 12/13/2011 9:21 a.m. -- Bizzyblog's Tom Blumer says Kevin DeWine should resign and get out of the governor's way. Blumer: "The logic is inescapable, and irrefutable. Surprise us, Kevin. Do the honorable thing. YOU are why the problem exists. YOU are the one who has been sewing party disunity and undercutting John Kasich (and yes, there is proof that you have been lying). YOU should go."]