Local Republican Leaders Do Battle Over Ohio 90th District House of Representatives
Bylaws and established methods were thrown to the wind during Tuesday’s meeting of the Scioto County Republican Central Committee. This committee assembled for the first time since the controversy over the appointment of the State Representative for the Ohio 90th District occurred in real-time at the Ohio State House.
Many of the members were dismayed by the lack of structure and organization. Numerous committee members raised questions regarding the direction and process of the meeting. The Chairperson, Rodney Barnett, was accused of attacking an opposing candidate in his endorsement letter to the state committee. Barnett doubled down this evening, stating, “I will stand by every single word in that letter” It is generally not the practice for endorsement letters to take potshots at the other candidates. SCDN has obtained every endorsement letter for all 9 original applicants for the position. In no other endorsement letter are the other candidates mentioned in any way.
Shawn Stratton, a local attorney and committee member, admonished such behavior. During an exchange with Barnett, Stratton became agitated and declared, “You should be ashamed of that letter.”
Motions were left on the floor unaddressed. Barnett changed the rules in a split second regarding who could speak. In the first instance, a committee member, Shawn Stratton, delegated his time to a non-committee member. That attendee was permitted to ask questions, but he was rebuffed in his attempt to better understand the circumstances surrounding the upheaval in Columbus.
Mere minutes later, committee member Stratton delegated time to Gina Collinsworth. Collinsworth is a non-committee member, a candidate for consideration in the Ohio 90th District, and the person who received the negative statements from Barnett in his endorsement letter of Justin Pizzulli. Barnett replied with a single, pointed word, “No!”
There were many comments made for calm and unity. All three county commissioners expressed the importance of following procedure, setting aside petty differences, and unifying for the best interest of the party and the constituents they represent.
The process stretched for a considerable amount of time. Some called the motions an “exercise in futility.” After more motions, all three local candidates were permitted to address the committee for 5 minutes without any questions. They were Joey Sandlin, Justin Pizzulli, and Gina Collinsworth.
Ultimately, the Scioto County Republican Committee voted to write a unified letter of support for Justin Pizzulli. It is unclear how the letter will be worded. It is also unclear if the letter will sway the divided Republican Caucus in Columbus to finally unify and vote to accept the Pizzulli nomination to the Ohio 90th District House of Representatives.
As we review our notes and the live stream that we were able to provide our subscribers, there will undoubtedly be more to say about this contentious meeting and its impact.