Hamilton County Democratic Party

boxing
Pixabay

The older I get, the more likely it is that I wake up in the morning with aches and pains. I guess that's part of the deal.

charmaine mcguffey
Jolene Almendarez / WVXU

If you follow local politics at all, you probably already know that the Hamilton County Democrats had a near sweep of county offices and judgeships.

jim neil charmaine mcguffey
Amanda Lee Myers, AP; Courtesy of Charmaine McGuffey

A candidate for re-election to a Hamilton County office who can't get the endorsement of his or her party is a true rarity in local politics.

sheriff jim neil
Amanda Lee Myers / AP

For any politician, getting the boot from your own political party is no easy feat to accomplish.

jim neil
Howard Wilkinson / WVXU

Hamilton County Democratic Party leaders did something Saturday morning that is extremely rare in local politics – they yanked the party endorsement of an incumbent elected official – in this case, Sheriff Jim Neil.

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Rucker, Tana Weingartner/WVXU; Prather, Facebook; all others courtesy of the candidates

There was a time, not so long ago, when the Hamilton County Democratic Party faced an upcoming candidate filing deadline with a sense of dread, as if it were a gigantic root canal and the anesthetic wasn't taking hold.

2020 hamilton county commissioners
Howard Wilkinson, Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Former county commissioner Todd Portune got what he wanted from the Hamilton County Democratic Party's central committee Saturday morning – the appointment of his former chief of staff, Victoria Parks, to serve out the remainder of his term.

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Reece courtesy of the Ohio Statehouse; Pillich of the candidate

There was a time when the leaders of the Democratic Party in Hamilton County had to crawl on their hands and knees and beg people to run for county offices.

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Courtesy of Springfield Township

In case there was any doubt, Gwen McFarlin has taken charge of the Hamilton County Democratic Party.

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Courtesy of Springfield Township

The law of unintended consequences doesn't always lead to bad consequences.

WVXU file

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik today about the departure of former state representative Connie Pillich as co-chair of the Hamilton County Democratic Party. Pillich is the new executive director of the National Association of Women Judges. Pillich was instrumental in raising the money needed for the success at the polls the Hamilton County Democrats enjoyed in the Nov. 6 election. Wilkinson says her fundraising prowess will be missed by the party. 

connie pillich
Sarah Ingles

Five months after Connie Pillich and Gwen McFarlin joined forces to become the first women co-chairs of the Hamilton County Democratic Party, Pillich has left to head a non-profit in Washington.

richard cordray
John Minchillo / AP

Well, which Democratic election night in Ohio would you like to read more about?

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Connie Pillich, Gwen McFarlin / Provided

In the end, it was no contest. The team of former state representative Connie Pillich and Springfield Township trustee Gwen McFarlin have been elected as the new co-chairs of the Hamilton County Democratic Party.

tim burke
Manley Burke LPA / Provided

Saturday, the Hamilton County Democratic Central Committee will meet at a union hall in Evendale to choose a successor (or successors) to Tim Burke, who is retiring after 24 years as county party chair. WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik this morning about Burke's departure and what the future of the party may look like. 

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Manley Burke LPA / Provided

Local attorney Tim Burke is retiring as chairman of the Hamilton County Democratic Party, a position he has held for 24 years. The Hamilton County Democratic Central Committee, made up of precinct executives, will vote on his replacement June 9.

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Connie Pillich, Gwen McFarlin / Provided

Connie Pillich and Gwen McFarlin, two women with experience in elective office, are running as a "co-chair" team to take over the Hamilton County Democratic Party.

tim burke
Manley Burke LPA / Provided

For those who follow Cincinnati politics, from either side of the aisle, it is really rather hard to imagine: Very soon, Tim Burke will no longer carry the title of chairman of the Hamilton County Democratic Party.

It's not surprising that, in Cincinnati, people who follow politics closely are fixated between the mayoral race between two Democrats – incumbent John Cranley and council member Yvette Simpson.

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with news director Maryanne Zeleznik about the presidential election results in Ohio and how Donald Trump outperformed even the polls that had him with a slim lead. And Wilkinson talked, too, about how Hamilton County has gone from a red county to a purple county to a blue county. 

Naturally, Democrats in Hamilton County were as shocked and disbelieving as Democrats anywhere else Tuesday night when Donald Trump won the White House, even though nearly all the indicators leading up to the election pointed to a Hillary Clinton victory.

It will take them some time to get over that; and some considerable time to figure out how they can fight back, as members of a party that doesn’t control either the executive or legislative branches of government – and are looking warily at what might happen to the judicial branch.

It's a tough pill to swallow.

Provided

Brigid Kelly of Norwood, one of six Democrats running in the March primary for the 31st Ohio House District, could have easily had an endorsement Saturday from the Hamilton County Democratic Party executive committee.

But Kelly stood up in the meeting before the vote was taken and asked them not to do it.

The endorsement might have caused hard feelings among Democrats, Kelly said.

WVXU-FM

  WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with news director Maryanne Zeleznik this morning about the disagreement within the Hamilton County Democratic Party about whether or not to endorse in the 31st Ohio House District race. Six candidates are running. 

Hamilton County Democrats can’t go too long without a good family fight.

They pop up regularly; and, more often than not, they involve whether or not the party should endorse for this office or that.

Well, the time has come again.

Howard Wilkinson

It hasn’t happened often since former Ohio governor Ted Strickland and Cincinnati council member P.G. Sittenfeld began running against each other for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination early this year.

Monday night, the two were in the same room at the same place at the same time – a Hamilton County Democratic Party fall fundraiser at Longworth Hall.

And they might as well have been 200 miles apart.

The Hamilton County Democratic Party is getting better these days at something they used to struggle with – recruiting candidates to run for judgeships.

On Nov. 4, we will see if they are getting any better at actually electing them.

This year, there are 13 judgeships for election in Hamilton County –a seat on the Ohio First District Court of Appeals, eight in the general division of Common Pleas Court, and one each in the juvenile, domestic relations, probate and drug court divisions of the Common Pleas Court.

Seven of them are contested races.

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So the Hamilton County Democratic Party has two candidates for mayor – John Cranley and Roxanne Qualls – and party leaders have vowed not to play favorites.

So why, in the campaign finance reports filed this week, did Qualls get $9,000 from the party and Cranley got $2,500?

Because, if you are a candidate for mayor or Cincinnati city council, the Democratic Party has a deal for you!

Here’s how it works:

A good old-fashioned family fight is a frequent occurrence in the Democratic Party, but this year's race for Cincinnati mayor won't be one of them.

The party leadership, in a recent blast e-mail to the party faithful made it clear they won't be taking sides in the battle between two Democratic mayoral candidates - Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls and former council member John Cranley.

Caleb Faux, the Hamilton County Democratic Party's executive director, said neither candidate has asked the party for an endorsement.

Provided

Now that the Cincinnati Democratic Committee has endorsed 10 Cincinnati City Council candidates, the trick for the party will be to let loyal Democrats know that they can only vote for nine of them.


“Yes, we need to develop a message on that,’’ said Hamilton County Democratic Party chairman Tim Burke said. “And, yes, it is a highly unusual situation.”


What happened was this:

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