Too many sources have been whispering in my ear to let this one go by without mention: The days of Montgomery County Republican Party Chairman Greg Gantt are coming to an end with a coming takeover by the Tea Party – led by Rob Scott. The party offices are to be no more- at least not in the Sherry Oakes/Design Homes building with subsidized rent (Oakes is still looking through rose-colored glasses about the FBI investigation into her maze of companies and their questionable minority contracting status). Money is so tight that Gantt borrowed $20K from Sheriff Phil Plummer earlier this year- and now has no way to pay it back.
Not only has the party been ineffective in raising money, somehow, its star, Congressman Mike Turner is now facing a primary after the statehouse Republicans took orders from House Speaker, John Boehner, who used to have part of his district in the county.
Rumors are also flying about a shake-up at the Board of Elections, with top Republicans about to be shifted out.
Montgomery County, as with most counties with a large urban core in Ohio has traditionally voted Democratic, but with the giant sucking sound of people leaving Dayton, the county can no longer be counted as a solid Dem win. The Montgomery County Democrats, under Chairman Mark Owens, aren’t in a whole lot better shape. Still smarting from the underdog victory of Mayor Leitzell over the incumbent party-favored daughter, Rhine McLin, the Dems are now facing challenges for county offices – something that used to get worked out in a back room.
The monarchy of Montgomery County is still hanging onto the last vestiges of the patronage system as long as possible- the recent embarrassment of having a Republican Judge’s son shoot someone five times outside Therapy Cafe on East Third Street- especially ironic because he was in a patronage position for another Republican judge where his job was to assist domestic violence victims in filling out their paperwork and helping them through the system.
To be fair, all of this was standard operating procedure for years, while the local version of the Fourth Estate, the Dayton Daily News, refused to do any kind of investigative reporting, instead believing that they were part of the secret society that ran this town. Now that they have jettisoned the flotsam and buckled down to attempt real reporting- it won’t be long before the entire org chart of both Dayton and Montgomery County gets cross referenced with a genealogical database and all the relationships come to light.
Even with the loss of population, Ohio will still be a key state for the presidential campaign and there will be a lot of money flowing through the party offices. The real question will be if the locals can be trusted, or will outsiders be brought in to try to steer the sinking ships in one last battle royale.