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Ohio GOP and tea party split over new chairman
Sixty-six central committee members will vote Friday on who should lead the Ohio Republican Party

Tom Zawistowski is head of the Portage County Tea Party and a candidate for the Ohio GOP chairman's seat. He says if the Republican Party doesn't want him, his and other conservative factions have "other options," including a third party coalition.
Courtesy of Jeff St.Clair
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Ohio’s Republican insiders will pick a new chairman Friday, and for now, the choice is between Chairman Bob Bennett’s hand-picked successor, Matt Borges, and the leader of one of the state’s most active Tea parties. Borges has been widely endorsed for the job, including by state Treasurer Josh Mandel, a Tea Party favorite.

MANDEL: On why Borges
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“I believe we need outside the box thinking and folks who have an open-ness to leveraging technology to win elections and advance conservative philosophy.”

But Borges is under fire for owing nearly $175,000 in back taxes, for previous campaign finance issues and – from social conservatives – for being a lobbyist for a gay rights group. His challenger, Portage County Tea Party Executive Director Tom Zawistowski, says the GOP should have vetted Borges more.

ZAWISTOWSKI: On why not Borges
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“My issue as a businessman and as a manager is that they weren’t addressed prior them wanting to name him chairman. That’s just not smart. When he came on board a year ago, there were people who had those issues. Those issues should have been addressed so everybody’s like, ‘Yeah, he’s our guy.’”

Zawistowski is the only declared candidate against Borges. But the Columbus Dispatch is reporting that Lake County GOP Chairman Dale Fellows is being floated should Borges’ candidacy fail.

Even in the off chance that Borges withdraws, Zawistowski recognizes he's not likely to be next in line for the top spot. But, he says, there are other options.

ZAWISTOWSKI:On finding another home
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"We’re still going to do the things we do, we still believe it what we believe it what we believe in.  And if the Republican Party is not the home of those values and ideas, we’ll find another home.”  

Zawistowski says if the Republicans don’t want him, he will try to form a coalition with other conservatives among the Christian right, the Libertarian Party and the Constitution Party to challenge the Republican Party for the hearts of conservative voters in Ohio.

Listener Comments:

I support Tom Zawistowski for the new State Central Committee, I feel that he represents the feels and interest of the people of Ohio Please election he to your committee

Posted by: Barb Brockman (Rossburg, Ohio 45362) on April 24, 2013 11:04AM
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