Things are getting weird with the Trumbull County Republican Party: Ohio Politics Roundup

There's a crisis of leadership with the Trumbull County Republican Party, and the police have gotten involved. Cleveland misses out on another chance to get a representative in the Trump administration. And Cleveland stands to lose state funding in the new...

Things are getting weird with the Trumbull County Republican Party: Ohio Politics Roundup

There's a crisis of leadership with the Trumbull County Republican Party, and the police have gotten involved. Cleveland misses out on another chance to get a representative in the Trump administration. And Cleveland stands to lose state funding in the new Kasich's budget. Read more in today's Ohio Politics Roundup, brought to you today by Andrew J. Tobias.

Rumble in Trumbull: The Trumbull County Republican Party is having difficulty filling a vacancy on the county's board of elections, the according to the Warren Tribune-Chronicle.

That's because there are two separate factions of the party who don't recognize the other side's authority.

It all started on Feb. 1, when members the Trumbull GOP central committee voted 49-0 to remove County Party Chairman Randy Law and his secretary, Debbie Roth, from their positions.

The problem, according to the Tribune Chronicle's Robert Lebzelter, is that Law contends the meeting was illegal. One of his arguments is that only he and his vice-chair can chair a meeting. So, Law claims he is still the county party chairman.

It gets worse: When Law and his supporters subsequently met on Feb. 12 to nominate someone to replace an elections board member whose term was expiring, members of the other faction showed up, too. The police ended up being called, writes the Tribune-Chronicle's Raymond L. Smith.

"Township police Chief Don Bishop ordered the approximately 50 people attending the meeting out of the building, citing safety concerns for children attending a party in the room next door. Law said he called police because some of those who attended the meeting assaulted him and Roth when they attempted to enter the room."

Splitting the baby: So now, each faction has submitted a name to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to fill the vacancy, writes the Tribune-Chronicle's Ron Selak. The insurgent group wants Kathi Creed, whom Law ousted in 2014, to keep her spot on the elections board. Law and his group have nominated Law for the spot.

The Ohio Republican Party will meet on Feb. 24 in Columbus to decide who the real leader of the county party is.

Blast from the past: We interviewed Law in December to ask about President Donald Trump's surprising victory there. Law gave a similar to interview to CNN's Van Jones a couple weeks later.

Why it matters: While it's a (quirky) provincial issue, Trumbull County is part of the epicenter of Trump's electoral success in Ohio. It was the most populous solidly Democratic county that Trump won. It bears watching whether Republicans can use Trump's success to gain a foothold -- like by electing local candidates -- or whether it's a fleeting moment. Inter-party strife can't help.

Moving on...

No CLE in the labor department: Trump on Thursday announced R. Alexander Acosta, a law school dean from Florida, as his nominee to lead the U.S. Department of Labor, according to the Associated Press.

In doing so, he passed over Cleveland labor lawyer Peter Kirsanow, who met with Trump Wednesday. Trump had previously considered Kirsanow for the job, before he decided to go instead with another guy with Cleveland connections -- fast-food CEO Andrew Puzder, who was born in the city and attended Cleveland State University.

However, Puzder withdrew his nomination after it became clear that he would not be confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate, after Republicans balked at an array of personal and professional issues that dogged him, including physical abuse claims during a past divorce.

Ted talks: Ted Strickland, the former Ohio governor and failed 2016 Senate candidate, has weighed in on the ongoing race to lead the Democratic National Committee.

Strickland has endorsed South Bend Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, one of several people vying for the spot. (Another candidate, former Obama Administration U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez, earlier this month claimed an endorsement from Ohio Democratic Party Chair David Pepper. And this week, U.S. Reps. Marcia Fudge and Tim Ryan endorsed Jaime Harrison of South Carolina.)

"I'm supporting Mayor Pete Buttigieg because he knows that the Democratic comeback won't start in Washington," Strickland said in a statement released by Buttigieg's campaign. "It will start in communities like Youngstown, Dayton, and Zanesville. He has shown--through his work turning around South Bend and electing Democrats in Indiana--that he is up to the task of rebuilding our party and making sure that we are speaking to--and not down to--every voter in every community."

In case you were wondering: Buttigieg's name is pronounced "BOOT-edge-edge," according to his Twitter biography.

Cleveland stands to lose state funding in Kasich formula: Cleveland is among the 21 percent of cities that would lose state funding -- to the tune of more than $2 million annually -- under Gov. John Kasich's new budget proposal, writes's Jackie Borchardt.

"Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton and Canton would also lose money under Kasich's plan, which bases some funding on a jurisdiction's ability to raise local revenues, according to estimates released this week by the Office of Budget and Management."

Kasich's new funding formula would award local government funding based in part on the city, village or township's ability to raise tax revenue. A lobbyist for Ohio's cities calls the proposal unfair.

Dig deeper: Click here for a searchable database -- programmed by's Rich Exner -- of which Ohio cities would win or lose money under Kasich's proposal.

Waiting for Cordray: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and its embattled director, former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, won a court victory on Thursday that could keep Cordray in Washington, according to Bloomberg News.

A U.S. Appeals Court in Washington is hearing a case that will determine whether Cordray can be fired for any reason at any time by Trump. On Thursday, appellate judges granted the CFPB's request to reconsider an October decision that stripped Cordray of his job protections.

The court set a hearing for May 24 that could have ramifications for the 2018 gubernatorial race in Ohio.

That's because Cordray is considered a potential top-tier Democratic candidate for that race. But his job bars him from political activity. So he would have to leave the CFPB -- one way or the other -- to run.

End of an era: William Denihan, a longtime public official with city, county and state government experience, announced on Thursday his retirement as the CEO of Cuyahoga County's Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board, writes's Karen Farkas.

Denihan, 79, previously served as the first executive director of the Ohio State Employee Relations Board, as acting director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and as public service director for Cleveland.

Queen City update: Republican Cincinnati City Councilman Charlie Winburn announced Thursday he will not run for mayor, writes the Cincinnati Enquirer's Jason Williams.

That leaves Mayor John Cranley, considered a possible future statewide prospect for Ohio Democrats, Rob Richardson Jr. and Yvette Simpson as the main candidates for the race.

Winners and losers: Thursday was a good day for fossil fuel interests, but not for environmentalists, writes's Stephen Koff. 

Trump "signed a bill Thursday to kill a rule imposed by President Barack Obama that would have stopped coal mines from dumping waste in streams," Koff reports.

In addition,  "The U.S. Senate voted to move forward with the confirmation of Trump's pick to run the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt. As attorney general for Oklahoma, Pruitt filed more than a dozen lawsuits fighting Obama's environmental rules."

Set your DVR: Kasich will appear on CNN's State of the Union on Sunday, the TV network announced Friday.

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