Unlike their political brethren in neighboring Montgomery County, the Greene County Republican Party has decided to wait a bit before endorsing a candidate for governor.
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The Greene GOP's Central Committee voted Thursday night, with 73 in favor, to wait until after the Feb. 7 filing deadline before endorsing a candidate in the race for the governor's office, according to GCRP Chairwoman Jan Basham.
The move comes after the Montgomery County GOP voted earlier this month to endorse Jon Husted, Ohio Secretary of State, who will be running against three other Republican candidates — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine of Cedarville; Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor; and U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth.
Montgomery County GOP's early endorsement drew criticism from other candidates. Rob Scott, senior adviser to Renacci, called it "insider politics" and said central committees should follow regular order and interview all candidates before endorsing anyone.
GOP members in other Ohio counties, including Lucas and Williams counties, have already voted to endorse a candidate.
The fallout from the Montgomery County GOP endorsement was part of what led the issue landing on the Greene County GOP agenda Thursday, according to Basham.
"We heard how things went in Montgomery County. We wanted to be open and fair to the candidates," Basham said. "We want our members to listen to all of the candidates before making their decisions as to who they would vote for."
Bruce Hull, GCRP precinct captain and Freedom Caucus chairman, said he suspects DeWine’s camp wanted to push for an endorsement vote at the meeting, but realized they might not get enough votes.
“People, even DeWine supporters, would have voted no on principle,” said Hull, who thought an endorsement vote in October would have been premature.
Carolyn Uecker, GCRP vice chairwoman, said the committee has not done a poll to see who is in favor of whom at this point, but said DeWine "enjoys strong support in Greene County."
Uecker said it's still unknown who their running mates will be, and, "You can't declare who will win a ball game until you know who's on the field."
DeWine's Campaign Manager Dave Luketic said his candidate has a lot of support in Greene County and throughout the state.
"In Greene County, Mike DeWine enjoys a large and diverse amount of support, just like he does through the rest of Ohio," Luketic said. "We look forward to the endorsement meeting."
Josh Eck, spokesman for Husted's campaign, declined to comment for this story.
Greene County Democratic Party does not endorse their candidates until after the primary, unless the candidate has no opponent, according to GCDP Chairwoman Doris Adams.
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The Democratic candidates for governor are Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley; former State Rep. Connie Pillich of Cincinnati; State Sen. Joe Schiavoni D-Boardman; former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton of Akron; and Ohio Supreme Court Justice William O’Neill.
Candidates in both parties will run to get the nomination in a primary election in May. The nominee from each party will then vie for the most votes in November 2018 to replace Gov. John Kasich, a Republican who is term-limited.