Lucas Co. GOP set to elect next party chairman

6/11/2014
BY TOM TROY
BLADE POLITICS WRITER
Stainbrook
Stainbrook

Six years after he was first elected Lucas County Republican chairman, Jon Stainbrook is in for another turbulent re-election contest — but one in which the odds are in his favor.

Delaney
Delaney

Mr. Stainbrook, 50, is being challenged by former Toledo tavern owner Bill Delaney who, at 73, is venturing into politics. Mr. Delaney ran unsuccessfully for Toledo City Council in 2013 with no party affiliation, and then defeated Mr. Stainbrook in a Tea Party-backed challenge May 6 primary for a state party post, Republican state central committeeman for the 11th Senate District.

The GOP county central committee of about 266 people elected in the May 6 primary is set to convene at 7 p.m. today at Premier Catering on Heatherdowns Boulevard. One of their jobs is to elect a chairman.

Mr. Stainbrook said he is confident of re-election because of what he says has been a successful tenure and because most of the central committee members are pledged to him.

“A chairman of the Lucas County Republican Party should make sure there’s a strong base of the party, which is the central committee, and raise money, and also field a slate of candidates against the Democrats, and I think I’ve done that,” he said.

Mr. Stainbrook notes that he has recruited Republicans for each countywide and legislative office on the Nov. 5 ballot — and harbors hopes of winning one or more races despite the county’s Democratic leaning.

Stainbrook operatives turned in the filing petitions for 213 of the 266 committee members, likely assuring Mr. Stainbrook of their votes when they show up tonight. Mr. Stainbrook’s success at filling the central committee has helped him ward off coup attempts before, including in 2010 when then-state Chairman Kevin DeWine came to Toledo to oversee the meeting. Current state Chairman Matt Borges said Tuesday he has no plans to attend the Toledo meeting.

Mr. Delaney and his backers in the Toledo Tea Party have been phoning central committee members to drum up support.

“We’re saying we’d like to have you there, and we’d like to have you vote for me,” Mr. Delaney said. “I’m doing this for the people.” He said his qualifications are “common sense, honesty, and wanting to bring the truth to the people.”

Mr. Delaney said he is suspicious of the party’s finances and contends the party has been secretive.

Campaign finance records for the last nine years shows that fund-raising for the general fund of the party reached a high of $69,625 in 2006 and dipped to $20,678 in 2012. Fund-raising rebounded in 2013 to $28,443.

Mr. Stainbrook said his annual Lincoln Day Dinners have attracted high-profile speakers, such as presidential candidate Herman Cain and Republican strategist Karl Rove.

He challenged Mr. Delaney to raise $10,000 for the party by the end of July and said he would do the same if Mr. Delaney is successful. “Let’s see if Bill Delaney really wants to be a Republican chairman instead of a detractor,” Mr. Stainbrook said.

Mr. Delaney, who acknowledged he has never contributed money to the Lucas County Republican Party, criticized the fact that problems with the party’s campaign finance reports have not been referred on a timely basis to the Ohio Elections Commission. That was one of the reasons cited by Secretary of State Jon Husted when he removed three Lucas County Board of Elections members last week, including Mr. Stainbrook.

“The biggest thing is what has gone from Toledo to Columbus as far as what has been brought in and what has been spent?” Mr. Delaney asked.

Mr. Delaney ran Delaney’s Lounge on West Alexis Road for 28 years and sold it three years ago after accumulating more than $47,000 in smoking fines, which he says he cannot be made to pay.

In 2008, he was charged with illegal gambling, after a sting by the Ohio Department of Public Safety. The gambling charges were dismissed and he pleaded no contest in 2011 to disorderly conduct and was fined $25.

Contact Tom Troy: tomtroy@theblade.com or 419--724-6058 or an Twitter @TomFTroy.