Saturday, May 1st, 2010
Central committees sustain parties
By Janie Southard
A novice may deem politics as a tangled web of rhetoric, but at its most basic level it's a group of people bound by common beliefs working together to achieve a goal. At the grassroots level, those people are organized as a central committee.
Members of central committees are elected to represent their neighborhoods an a local, state and national level.
Each county precinct elects its own representative at the primary election. Democrats are on the ballot the same year as candidates for governor and Republican nominees follow the same cycle as the U.S. presidential election.
Members serve a four-year term. The committee elects officers and may also elect an executive committee, a smaller group that may conduct party business without calling a meeting of the whole.
The central committee's purpose is to discuss political issues and recruit and train local candidates. Members support their state party and candidates through fundraisers and promote those candidates at events such as county fairs, festivals and parades.
The county committee suggests poll workers, fills vacancies when there is a resignation or death of an elected official and appoints members who serve on the local board of elections.
"As a local party we are a conduit for statewide candidates but we never takes sides with any of our own candidates in a primary. What we do is provide a venue for them and invite media coverage," said Steve Walter, executive committee chair of the Auglaize County Democratic Central Committee.
The central party committee system was set forth in the Ohio constitution and operates in compliance with the Ohio Revised Code and party by-laws.
"My great-grandfather was chair of the Auglaize County Democratic Central Committee and he was a Civil War veteran. I'm fairly confident the current structure is early 20th century," Walter said.
In Mercer County, the Republican Party Central Committee chair presides over meetings and committees within the Committee.
"We work closely with the Ohio Republican Committee (ORC) to coordinate events and distribute information," said Matt Gilmore, Mercer County Republican Central Committee chair.
The main focus is on the local county offices, city and village.
"Actually we deal with all things Republican within the county and the ORC," said Gilmore, who interprets the job of committee chair as that of a bridge between county and state.
The committee also assists any local Republican candidate with setting up speaking engagements and preparing speeches with members by serving as a sounding board. Both parties often sponsor a state candidate's local appearance. Recently, the Auglaize Democrats hosted U.S. Senate candidate Jennifer Brunner. In early May, the Mercer County Republicans have planned a dinner/reception for John Kasich, candidate for Ohio governor, and Ohio State Auditor Mary Taylor, candidate for lieutenant governor.
Nineteen of Mercer County's 38 voting precincts have no Democratic candidate for Tuesday's election.
In Auglaize County, the central committee members for both parties run every four years and will do so next in the 2012 primary.
Local central committee candidates:
Only Democratic Central Committee members are on the ballot Tuesday in Mercer County. There are 19 seats open in the 38 precinct district. Following the election, committee members can be appointed by the committee chair; however, the selection process is informal.
In Auglaize County, both parties' central committee members are up for election every four years. The next election will be the 2012 primary.
Candidates on the Mercer County primary ballot are Democrats representing the following precincts: Mary L. Wright, Celina A103; Betty Cook, Celina C; Craig Klopfleisch, Celina D; Gerald Mangen, Celina E; Walter Fleck, Celina F; Mark Giesige, Celina G; Margaret Flaute, Celina H; Luella smith, E. Jefferson North; Hulda Marilyn Frank, E. Jefferson South; Jill Myers, West Jefferson; Brenda VanTilburg, Center; Thomas L. Thomas, Coldwater West; LaVern Vagedes, Coldwater Central; Maurice G. Cron, Coldwater Southeast; Jeff Johnson, Union; Jeffery Schwieterman, Marion West; Carla Hirschfeld, Franklin West; Martha Schaadt, Hopewell; and David Muhlenkamp, Washington.
No candidate filed for any of the following precincts: Celina A101, Celina A102, Celina B, Butler East, Butler West, St. Henry North, St. Henry South, Granville East, Granville West, Fort Recovery Village, Gibson, Recovery, Rockford Village, Dublin, Marion East, Franklin East, Liberty and Blackcreek.