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Published: Thursday, 3/29/2012

Redfern faces challenge for re-election

Lorain lawyer says Ohio Democratic chairman let party down in 2010

Chris Redfern has led the state's Democrats since December, 2005. Local supporters say they believe he has the votes to be re-elected. Chris Redfern has led the state's Democrats since December, 2005. Local supporters say they believe he has the votes to be re-elected.
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Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern is facing a challenge for re-election next month from a Lorain lawyer.

Anthony Giardini, the Democratic Party chairman for the city of Lorain and the incoming chairman of the county party, has written to the party's 66 central committee members asking for their votes when the committee meets in April to reorganize for another two years.

Mr. Giardini, a lawyer, said Wednesday he decided to run after starting to become more active in the state party's county chairmen's organization. He said he talked to many people who believed that Mr. Redfern had let down the party in 2010, when Democrats lost every statewide race.

"I'm not blaming him for everything that happened in 2010; that'd be unreasonable," Mr. Giardini said. He said Mr. Redfern deserves the same fate as that which would await a football coach who finishes the season 0-16.

"They typically don't fire the whole team. More often than not the head coach is gone," Mr. Giardini said.

Local supporters of Mr. Redfern said they're confident he has the votes to be re-elected.

Wade Kapszukiewicz, Lucas County treasurer and a member of the state party's executive committee, said he believes that Mr. Giardini may get up to 10 or 15 percent of the votes of the central committee.

"I don't think this is going to have near the drama that the Republican Party fight did. This one I think will turn out to be much ado about nothing," he said.

Mr. Redfern, of Catawba Island Township, who has led the state's Democratic Party since December, 2005, is running for the 89th House District, which includes Ottawa and Erie counties. Mr. Redfern previously was a state representative who was barred from running again in 2008 because of term limits.

The Ohio Republican Party is embroiled in a hotly contested struggle between the incumbent chairman, Kevin DeWine, and Republican Gov. John Kasich, over leadership, with Mr. Kasich supporting Republican central committee members who will vote for Mr. DeWine's ouster at the upcoming April 13 reorganization meeting.

Some of Mr. Giardini's support is coming from Ohio's labor unions.

The Ohio State Building and Construction Trades Council is considering supporting him, after having already voted not to support Mr. Redfern's bid for another term, according to Dennis Duffey, the secretary treasurer of the organization based in Columbus.

Contact Tom Troy at tomtroy@theblade.com or 419-724-6058.

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