It could only happen in Athens County. Yesterday, Ohio Democratic Party Chair Chris Redfern released a statement calling upon indicted Athens County Democratic Party Chair Susan Gwinn to resign. For those arriving late to the game, Gwinn has been indicted for three felonies and three misdemeanors all related to campaign finance. She has also been involved in the Cash for Votes scandal that I have been reporting on over the past few days.
Gwinn’s response? Only one word for it: Delicious. From The Post:
Gwinn said she’s not moving.
“Frankly, I think he should resign,” she said.
That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. The chairwoman of a county party, already under indictment, is telling the chairman of her state party that he should resign. One would think this display of defiance would provoke calls for her resignation from within Athens County, right? If you think that, you don’t know Athens County! On the contrary, Third Ward Councilwoman Nancy Bain (see my coverage of Bain’s earlier antics) is standing up for Gwinn and taking on Redfern.
Bain’s comments and more beneath the fold…
Councilwoman Nancy Bain, D-3rd Ward, said she thinks Redfern’s request is inappropriate and political.
“I think running a person out of town for something that may or may not have happened — I think that is premature,” Bain said. “Maybe he should watch his premature moves.”
She added that Redfern should stop “meddling in our politics” and let Gwinn run the party because Democrats have a strong hold on the county. Gwinn will be up for re-election next May.
“I just hate it when people are treated unfairly — bottom line. If we want his opinions we’ll call him up and ask him, ‘Hey, what do you want? Oh! We didn’t lose that election, did we?'”
Two points to be made here.
The defiance of Athens County Democrats only illustrates that Ohio Republican Party Chair Kevin DeWine was right when he called upon Gov. Ted Strickland to demand Gwinn’s resignation. It couldn’t be clearer that Gwinn intends to stay on the job despite her indictment and her latest scandal, and that Athens County Democrats are standing behind her (it is, after all, the best vantage point from whence to stab her in the back when it’s convenient for them). It’s going to take pressure from the governor himself to see any movement from the ethically challenged Dems in this county. We’re waiting, Turnaround Ted.
Second thing: Are they serious?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Athens County Democrats think they are unaccountable because they believe they’re untouchable. Clearly, Randy Morris’ loss yesterday has only bolstered this belief and served to embolden them. It is in the best interests of this county to end what The Post called their “strong hold on the county.”
That’s why I’m making it my personal pledge today to work with the Athens County Republican Party and the OU College Republicans to find a challenger for Dr. Bain, and to see that person toss her out of her Third Ward seat in the next city council election. Susan Gwinn has got to go, and I’m confident that her outrageous remarks to Chairman Redfern will see her resign as county party chair very soon. But it’s not enough for Gwinn to go. Republicans and independents need to take the fight to every single Democrat in Athens County and make them realize they’re not untouchable and they will be held accountable.
That fight begins today, and it ends only when we see Athens County become a real democracy rather than a one-party state controlled by Chairwoman Gwinn.