Gov: Former Bay Village Mayor Jelepsis (R) Endorses Strickland (D)
Last night while I was phonebanking for gubernatorial candidate Rep. Ted Strickland (D-Lisbon) and U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-Avon) at the Democratic campaign office in Shaker Square, campaign staffer Neil Varakharia gave me a copy of a remarkable letter written by Tom Jelepsis, the popular former mayor of the west side conservative stronghold of Bay Village. This letter was sent on August 24th to about 5,000 Republican households (reaching about 11,000 registered voters) in Bay Village and nearby communities.
Jelepsis, a former Marine and Lakewood native, writes that he subscribes to the "Republican principles of fiscal restraint and social responsibility" and has "loyally supported the Republican Party" but will be voting for Strickland in November. Ohio, he writes, requires "dramatic action" to address "extremely difficult issues," calling for "substance rather than rhetoric, [and] realistic objectives rather than unrealistic, and unfulfilled promises." Describing Strickland as an "admirable man who is sincere, honest and unwavering in his desire to make Ohio great again," Jelepsis says that we "need to give Ohioans hope," not "policies and rhetoric that polarize us and make us work against one another." Strickland will "work in a bipartisan manner that seeks to put Ohio above political in-fighting."
He concludes by noting that he is not "a convert" and supports "a number of Republican candidates throughout the country and state." However, he "know[s] that sound bites and quick and clever quips may score points during an election, but the type of character and substance that Ted Strickland possesses is what is needed for positive change." He is "proud to call himself a supporter of Ted Strickland" and hopes the recipients will join him in "voting for Ted."
The letter includes an address and telephone number for Jelepsis. Neil told me last night that the former mayor already has received lots of positive feedback.