In this article Chris Redfern compares being chair of the Ohio GOP to being President of the Rotary Club. "Somebody's got to do it". Is that a swipe at the Rotary Club? I'd like to see a new group emerge. "Rotarians against Redfern".
This article appears on the Dayton Daily News website on 1/17/2009.
Kevin DeWine takes over as Ohio GOP chairman
The former state representative is the first state party leader from the area since before The Great Depression.
By William Hershey
Saturday, January 17, 2009
COLUMBUS — It wasn't so long ago when Ohio Republicans, led by their 69-year-old chairman, were stumping for a 72-year-old presidential candidate and gearing up for a 2010 U.S. Senate race with a 72-year-old incumbent.
In a flash, those days are gone.
Friday, Jan. 16, capped a week of generational change for the Ohio GOP. First, Sen. George Voinovich announced he wouldn't seek re-election in 2010, opening the door to former U.S. Rep. Rob Portman, 53, who quickly jumped into the race and racked up enough endorsements to emerge as the frontrunner. Then on Friday, the party's central and executive committee unanimously elected Fairborn's Kevin DeWine, 41, as state chairman. DeWine replaces Bob Bennett, who began leading the party when Barack Obama was still a community organizer in Chicago. DeWine becomes the first state GOP chairman from this area since Arthur Nixon of Dayton in 1928-29.
At the committee's meeting in suburban Columbus, DeWine praised Bennett's nearly 21-year tenure, which included GOP wins for all statewide executive offices in three straight elections — 1994, 1998 and 2002.
But Republican fortunes plummeted in 2006 and 2008, and DeWine wasted no time calling for a fresh start for a party led in the 2008 election by an aging standard bearer, U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona.
"Going forward, we must be brutally honest with ourselves," said DeWine, a former four-term Ohio House member. "The last four years have not been grand for the Grand Old Party. In many ways, the party of Lincoln too often has been divided against itself."
DeWine said it's tempting to look for the "next Ronald Reagan," but the party instead should look to candidates such as Louisiana's Republican governor Bobby Jindal, Portman and Ohio state Auditor Mary Taylor. All are at least a generation younger than McCain and Voinovich.
In his luncheon speech, Portman also looked to the future, even putting together a potential GOP ticket for 2010, adding Taylor, state Sen. Jon Husted, former U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine — Kevin's cousin — and former U.S. Rep. John Kasich to a list obviously including himself.
Republicans, Portman said, are "hungry for change."
"They want to take this state back," he said.
Ohio Democratic Chairman Chris Redfern said he doesn't envy DeWine. "I suppose being the new chairman of the Republican Party in Ohio is kind of like being president of the Rotary Club," he joked. "Somebody's got to do it."
But Redfern added that the new chairman shouldn't be taken lightly.
"It's a passing of the torch," he said. "I understand as Democrats we've got to work that much harder."
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