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Where Have All the Republicans Gone?

August 25, 2008 - Joselyn King
As we reach the end of summer and political conventions begin, I can't help but wonder. . . .

Where have all the Ohio County Republicans gone?

It seems to me that it was just three years ago that Republicans held all three state legislative seats in the county. The county party -- under the direction of former chairman Scott Reed -- displayed an energy that helped it to compete successfully in a county where Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 3 to 1 margin.

Then came 2006. The county Republican Party lost its revered chairwoman Kathy Fortunato that year, as well as two House of Delegates seats.

That energy the party had left with the Republican-led Congress that year -- and dropped as fast as the budget surplus and George W. Bush's approval rating. (Or was that Dick Cheney's?)

Simply put, the county party imploded, as has yet to recover.

Perhaps it is unfair to focus on just Ohio County Republicans.

There was once a semblance of a two-party system in East Ohio back as far as 2006. Oh, yeah. That was the same year former U.S. Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, withdrew from his race for re-election and later confessed to influence peddling. I seem to recall former Gov. Bob Taft had his own problems -- a nickel there, a rare antique coin there -- that year.

Needless to say, many of the county party faithful from that time. . .well, they don't like to go out much anymore.

So just what -- or who -- stole the faith of Republicans? Was it an obtuse and obstinate presidential administration? An overspending Congress? Elected officials who went into business for themselves?

Or are the problems more local?

And perhaps it is unfair to focus just on Republicans. Democrats should be really happy right now, but I really don't see all that much energy from them. Perhaps they just assume all elected offices are just going to come their way this year.

So into both political houses I yell inside: "Hello! Is there anybody home?'


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