Harper returns to Lucas Co. Democratic Party

Rothenbuhler says resignation was a misunderstanding

Yvonne Harper
Yvonne Harper

The house-cleaning that supposedly roiled the Lucas County Democratic Party a week ago has been reversed.

County Democratic Chairman Ron Rothenbuhler said today he has taken Yvonne Harper back as executive director.

Ms. Harper, 64, stepped down as the party’s part-time executive director on Oct. 3 at Mr. Rothenbuhler's request. He said they had had a misunderstanding, Ms. Harper asked if he wanted her to resign, and he said yes.

Democrats within the party have complained of a lack of organization and outreach by the party, and so some welcomed Ms. Harper’s resignation. Others wondered why the house-cleaning didn’t sweep Mr. Rothenbuhler out the door, too.

RELATED ARTICLE: Lucas County Democrats clean house at the top, 10/4/13

Today, Mr. Rothenbuhler said the two had been friends for more than five years and their misunderstanding has been cleared up.

Mr. Rothenbuhler announced the reconciliation in an email to party members today and reminded them of the party’s annual dinner on Oct. 27.

“As of Thursday October 10, 2013, LCDP Chairman Ron Rothenbuhler and LCDP Executive Director Yvonne Harper have resolved our misunderstandings of the past week,” the email to mystified executive committee members read.

“We also want to encourage all of you to please support our Annual Lucas County Dinner,” he added. “Yvonne & I BOTH want to encourage your participation and support of your Lucas County Democratic Party!!”

As a footnote, Mr. Rothenbuhler said the party headquarters would be open every day until Election Day for party members and candidates who need help. He said he, Ms. Harper, and the office manager, Sandy Smith, will make sure someone is in the office at all times.

Some party members have been quietly urging Mr. Rothenbuhler himself to step down because of the party’s poor showing in the Sept. 10 city council primary election.

For the first time in modern memory, no Democrat made it through the primary election to be on the city general election ballot for mayor. Two Democrats competed - Lucas County Auditor Anita Lopez and Toledo Councilman Joe McNamara - but neither finished as one of the top two vote-getters. Those two slots went to independents Mayor Mike Bell and Councilman D. Michael Collins.

The party also came up short in the contest for city council at-large. The party endorsed only three candidates for the six seats, incumbents Steve Steel, Adam Martinez, and Shaun Enright.

Mr. Rothenbuhler said he tried to get candidates to run without success, and he blamed the party’s bylaw, in place for about 10 years, that prohibits the party from endorsing a candidate in a primary when two qualified Democrats are competing.

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