TO: STATE CENTRAL COMMITTEE MEMBERS
FROM: Tom Zawistowski, Candidate for Chairman
In the past few days, you have seen two letters that I hope helped you, and everyone in party leadership, to better understand the anger and frustration growing within our Republican base. I have laid out a case for you that I am running to keep the Ohio Republican Party from self-destructing. I have made the case that I am uniquely qualified to prevent that self-destruction because I have credibility with social conservative leaders and with fiscal conservatives and grassroots leaders. Now, by their written statement and signatures, they have proved to you that I have their support. I have also proved that their anger is real. Many of you have received phone calls and emails, not from leaders but just ordinary Republicans, asking you to support my candidacy. Some of them have been angry or upset. You need to see that all of this reflects how these important constituent feel about our Ohio Republican Party. They are not feeling very good about it, nor are many of you.
Now that you have seen this anger and frustration first hand, let me try to explain to you where it comes from. I have explained in some of my previous emails that the problems with our Party are systemic and thus can be fixed. We have these problems because we create them without knowing it. Let me use a very important example. Last year around this time, a group of Liberty Group leaders met with Chairman Bennett to try and bridge some of the gap between the TEA Party movement and the Republican Party. In that meeting, I explained to the Chairman, that we were recruiting new people to the Party, who were young and energetic and who were willing to run for office at all levels. Every time one of them would run, the party would endorse in the primary, or worse, spend tons of money to defeat them. I asked the Chairman, how he expect to grow the party when every time someone tried to come in, you slammed the door in their face? To his credit, Chairman Bennett said he agreed that your policy, the State Central Committee policy, of only endorsing incumbents in primaries, or endorsing anyone in primaries was wrong. However, he said his problem was that it took a 2/3 vote by the State Central Committee to eliminate that policy and that he could not get you to vote for it, because many incumbents were your friends. Seriously. I told him, that he had about a year to figure out a way to get it done, because people would stop trying to come in unless it was changed. So here we are, one year later, and this important issue has not been addressed and people are ready to walk away.
Let me try to explain how crucial this is to you, to the State Central Committee, and to the very future of the party. You see, to most Americans, and certainly most Republicans, the American system of government is supposed to work like this. People of like mind get together and find individuals who share their views and values, who are willing to run for office. They then raise money for those individuals, work for them and help get them elected. Once elected, they watch what they do, stay in touch with them, and expect them to do what they promised. They do this to hold them accountable. If the person elected represents their views and values well enough they work and vote to re-elect them. If the person elected fails to represent their views and values they work and vote to un-elect them. This is where this policy of the State Central Committee and some County Central Committees come in. Your policy of only endorsing incumbents often makes it impossible for the people to un-elect those who do not serve them. Your policy interferes with our very system of government. The “hold them accountable” part is short circuited. This is where the anger and frustration comes from in our base. They become unhappy with a candidate, they recruit someone they like better to run against them in the primary, and the Party endorses the incumbent and often also throws a ton of money behind them. Now you on the State Central Committee may think that is great and that it is being loyal to support the incumbents. But what it really does is destroy the Party. It eliminates the natural cleansing process necessary to keep the party in touch with its base. No new blood, no new ideas are allowed to enter. Cronyism and corruption take hold and the voters become more and more angry and frustrated. They walk away. They walked away in November. Millions of them are telling you this week that they are ready to walk away right now.
So, how do we fix it? Well with this letter, I am hereby formally asking Chairman Bennett, to put a vote on the agenda at next Friday’s meeting, before the vote for Chairman, that will revoke the policy that allows the Party to endorse any candidate in any Republican Primary. If you are serious about addressing the concerns of the Republican base, you will vote to revoke this destructive policy and take a big step in restoring credibility in the Party. If you do not do so, then you are in essence telling those constituents that you do not trust the people in your own party to decide who should represent them. That you do not believe that they have the right to choose. You do not believe in the American form of government by the people, of the people and for the people. I urge you to make this change next Friday.
These are the kinds of systemic changes that can repair the party and make us more competitive in general elections. Having fair primaries will make it more likely that our base will get fully behind the primary winners because their preferred candidate had a fair shot. As Chairman of the Party, I will work with all of you, to make more of these important changes in policy that will benefit all us.