Tea Party Candidate Campaigns For Republican Leadership Role

Apr 3, 2013

A year after an upheaval in the Ohio Republican Party brought Bob Bennett out of retirement to serve again as chairman, a conservative leader is challenging the official who’s set to replace Bennett as he leaves the party chairman's seat a second time.

Ohio Public Radio’s Karen Kasler reports.

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Tom Zawistowski heads the Portage County TEA Party and was one of more than 80 conservatives who signed a letter protesting what they called the direction the Ohio Republican Party on abortion and same sex marriage – and about the choice to replace Bob Bennett with Matt Borges, who they say pleaded guilty to an ethics misdemeanor and once lobbied for the gay rights group Equality Ohio. Zawistowski has now declared his candidacy as chairman of the GOP ahead of a leadership vote later this month. In an interview last week with Ohio Public Radio and TV, Zawistowski said party leaders should have met with those who opposed the Borges decision.

“And if you don’t bring them together with those people and you just appoint him, aren’t you just telling those people you really don’t care what they think and you’re just going to do what you want to do? That’s just bad governance, that’s bad administration. It’s bad for the party.”

Borges has said his record was expunged, and he has the support of all elected Republicans, including Gov. John Kasich.