The fall of the Montgomery County Republican Party?

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.



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12 Comments on "The fall of the Montgomery County Republican Party?"

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What a joke this chairman is! He can’t win a race for his party when all republicians were winning races, Can’t rase any money or produce viable  candidates. Hands out money to the Board Of Elections when the county is going broke. What else can this fool in cheep looking suits do to hurt the GOP?


“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.” (David Esrati)

I hope the org chart showing how local government jobs are filled with friends, family of other local govt officials does get published. This website is one of the few places I have seen it addressed.

Why can’t Montgomery County openly post all job openings, not just a few of them? Ever seen a job posting for the Montgomery County Board of Elections staff? Bi-partisan operation does not have to mean hiring in secret.


The only way to get employment is thru the republician or democratic chairman’s. They alone decide who is in charge there, (100,000 for 2 directors that make the same. the only office in the county where that happens, state law says only one is needed.) Then the party chairmans and local union leaders give out outragous saleries and bonuses to friends and family members. Then these employees funnel money back to policial parties. Letting this happen by our elected officials and community leaders is a great injustice.

CEW BOE Updater
CEW BOE Updater

I guess the guys that sent the BOE mailings out have thrown in the towel as far as sending more stuff out. I did hear from numerous sources that photos of Harsman and Smith were taken before cell phones were banned. Here are photos that were taken alleging they prove Harsman and his secretary took a trip to Florida on the taxpayers dime. The last photo is definitely Harsman sporting his hair plugs that were paid for by the taxpayers.


It is a sad state of affairs in the county David. We have a director in charge of counting our ballots that screwed up 600 provisional ballots, approved the hiring of a rapist/tier 3 sex offender, employed a suspected drug dealer, used our money to take his secretary on a trip to Florida, and alegedly stole over $100,000 worth of voting machines from Deibold.

My guess is the Sheriff will eventually come after Harsman and others for sending one of his detectives on a wild goose chase over stolen label etc. to try and cover up their ballot screw up.

The following is the full photo spread put together by daytonpolitix on photobucket about Harsman’s trip to Florida with his secretary. Mark Owens of course has to know about these. It’s just sad.


How do the photos ^^^ prove taxpayers paid for this trip ? Or that “hair plugs” were paid for by taxpayers ?

BOE Updater
BOE Updater

The photos do not prove anything.  There would have to be an investigation that shows tax dollars were used to pay for meals, rooms, transportation etc.  The photos should warant an investigation.  At this stage I do not know what year this trip happened.


Regarding the photos posted above, Harshman traveled on county business to see Miami Dades automated ballot printing and counting system. His travel was coordinated by Cathy Merkle. Cathy took vacation during the same week. Her leave was approved by Steve and she was not on the clock. 

She traveled to Florida on a separate itinerary and met Steve at his hotel. She stayed with him. I would bet that the county paid for a single occupancy government rate. The two returned to Dayton on an identical itinerary and sat with one another during the leg from Atlanta to Ohio. 

They both returned to Dayton on the same flight and exited the ticketed area 4 minutes apart. The two of them never spoke to one another in the baggage claim area. Steve was parked directly in front of the airport terminal in the old short term parking area. Cathy was parked in the lot to the east of the terminal in what was the credit card lot at the time.

Of course both parties knew all about this. All the information was given to Jim Nathanson and Mark Owens. Both declined to take action when presented with all documentation, including photos, Delta flight itineraries, and other corroborating evidence. 


If they don’t prove anything, don’t say “Here are photos that were taken alleging they prove…” or “used our money to take his secretary on a trip to Florida”

BOE Updater
BOE Updater

@mcohio.  If you still have the evidence you gave to Owens and Nathanson send it to Esrati.

Bubba Jones
Bubba Jones

More crap related to the MCBOE…..
I like this paragraph in the story: 
Kym Brush also retired on disability from the Montgomery County Board of Elections in 2006. She is employed now, but Lieberman would not disclose her current job.
I like how she’s too disabled to have a desk job at the BOE but apparently is healthy enough to have had a job in a retail establishment where, presumably, she’d be on her feet most of the day.  I wonder what her current job is.  She appeared to be very healthy and “perky” when she gave me an absentee ballot a few years ago. (Of course, I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV.)


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