About a month ago, Gov. John Kasich joked, “I didn’t think we had a Democratic Party in Ohio.” If anyone looked to see if the governor was right by looking for coverage in Ohio media, the conclusion might be either it didn’t or that it wasn’t doing much.
Mid-afternoon on Sunday, a couple hours before 3,200 Democrats jammed into the Columbus Convention Center to attend the party’s big dinner and fundraiser, where Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton would address the crowd, Ohio Democratic Party [ODP] Chairman David Pepper showed ODP has more going on that daily newspapers or TV report on.
Pepper, who replaced Chris Redfern following the party’s losses across the board in 2014, reminded reporters today that for the first time in years, the mayor of Ohio’s top seven cities are Democrats, winning in red and blue areas. He believes the fall elections will again reward Democrats as history tells us voter turnout for presidential election years increases. Voter turnout will push Democrats, especially presidential candidates Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, to victory.
And while the importance of winning this year can not be underestimated, fielding a slate of candidates in 2018 who can rely upon a network of statewide party resources is equally important, as Pepper and company look forward to the statewide races in two years for governor, auditor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer and the General Assembly.
“If we get the vote out, all the millions in the world spent by the Koch Brothers or Karl Rove or the Republican Party” won’t matter, Pepper said. He added, “When Democrats get the vote out, get organized, we win elections.” ODP is already in good shape, Pepper noted, with 30 field staffers on the job. The presidency and the U.S Senate race will have huge consequences for Ohio and the nation, he said. What’s at stake is nothing less than control of the White House, the U.S. Senate and the Supreme court.