Ohio2006 Blog

News, analysis, and comments on Ohio elections.

Friday, February 24

OH Gov: Republicans Squabble Over Alleged Bias and Suppressed Straw Poll

The Cleveland Plain Dealer has the scoop on the latest internal strife to wrack the Ohio Republican Party. According to their account, ORP Northeast Regional Director Karl Raszewski resigned his post because party officials are secretly promoting the gubernatorial candidacy of Jim Petro (R-Rocky River) while publicly expressing neutrality. Specifically, Raszewski says ORP Executive Director Chris McNulty suppressed the results of a State Central Committee straw poll that showed overwhelming support for Secretary of State Ken Blackwell. Raszewski wrote in an e-mail to party officials that if McNulty had "let everyone see the results, Petro would have likely left the race within 48 hours." ORP Chairman Bob Bennett reportedly discussed the poll results with party leaders but did not release them publicly. Raszewski also wrote that he objects to the ORP "assisting a primary in the governor's race when we supposedly didn't want one." He called Blackwell "clearly the better candidate for Ohio and for the Republican Party nationally," and said he was "disappointed to find out that people there did not like him and frequently worked against what's best for Ohio."

Bennett disputed Raszewski's charges. Bennett said he didn't reveal the poll results because neither candidate had been notified that a poll would be taken and he didn't want the results to be seen as an endorsement. He denied that McNulty supports Petro even though McNulty's new wife, Jenna Soccorsi, is a fund-raiser for Petro.

Bob Paduchik, Petro's campaign chairman, said "I don't think the party has shown anybody any favoritism - certainly not Jim Petro." Ken Blackwel (R-Cincinnati), on the other hand, said "I've known for years that Bob Bennett has emotional, historical and political ties to Jim Petro. I also know that I'm his political prodigal son and Bob Taft and Jim Petro are his favorite sons. It didn't surprise me or alarm me that he threw his protective cover over Jim."

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