Ohio Conservatives Need to Stop Whining and Start Working

Unchecked Egos and Unrealistic Expectations Lead to Election Defeats

By Scott Pullins


In 1960 at the Republican National Convention, conservative Republican Senator Barry Goldwater was nominated for President because many conservatives had concerns about the bona fides of Richard M. Nixon. Goldwater only had limited support and in his speech withdrawing his candidacy and endorsing Nixon, he said the following:


Let's grow up, conservatives.


Let's, if we want to take this party back—and I think we can someday—let's get to work.


In 1960 Barry Goldwater took stock of the situation, determined that he couldn’t win, and then withdrew and campaigned hard for Richard Nixon.  He didn’t quit politics, declare he wouldn’t vote for Nixon in the general election, nor blame conspiracies for his loss.  He got to work.


Ohio conservative Republicans should take note.


Just one day before an important meeting of the Ohio Republican Party State Central Committee, Lt. Governor Mary Taylor declared that if Mike DeWine was the Republican nominee for Governor, she wouldn’t vote for him.  This assertion reminded committee members of John Kasich’s refusal to vote for Donald Trump in the 2016 general election.  That decision was a key factor that led to the defeat of Kasich backed party chair Matt Borges just one year ago.


Unfortunately, Ohio conservatives are not known for their willingness to set their egos aside and playing the long game.  Instead, they are known for shooting too high, getting defeated, and then taking their marbles and going home.  


Let’s take Taylor advisor Seth Morgan.  In 2008, the conservative Huber Heights City Council Member and CPA was elected to the Ohio House, then led by Ohio Democrats.  Seth quickly gained a high profile around capital square as he took on the Strickland administration for hiding public records.


But after serving one term in the Ohio House the state auditor’s office opened and Seth, then age 31, decided to go for it. Unfortunately, the results were disastrous.  


To prevent a bitter primary for Attorney General party leaders pressured David Yost, a former Delaware County Auditor and then County Prosecutor, to run for State Auditor instead.  Mike DeWine, defeated for a third senate term in in 2006, became the nominee for Attorney General.  


Seth Morgan could have run for re-election and served another six years in the Ohio House but he refused to do so.  Instead, he was defeated by a margin of 65% to 35% by David Yost.  He only won 3 of Ohio’s 88 counties.


This ill advised primary most likely cost Seth Morgan an appointment to the Ohio Senate too.  After being elected Ohio’s Secretary of State, Jon Husted vacated his seat.  While Morgan was considered for the appointment, he had ruffled too many establishment feathers and he was passed over in favor of Peggy Lehner.  


Morgan is now back on Huber Heights City Council, representing the same ward that he was first elected to at age 23.  He reportedly was considered as a running mate for Mary Taylor but was passed over.


Then there is Taylor advisor Ken Blackwell.  After a bitter GOP primary in 2006, Blackwell went on to lose in a landslide to Ted Strickland in the general election.  


Blackwell only mustered 37% of the vote and won just 16 of Ohio’s 88 counties.  It was the worst performance for a Republican since Ohio switched to four year terms in 1958. Blackwell ran for election as Chairman of the Republican National Committee in 2009 but withdrew after the 4th round of voting.


One year ago, polling showed that Mary Taylor was the frontrunner if she decided to run for Congress in the 16th Congressional District.  That would have been the smart move if she wanted to continue her career in public office.  But she declined and recent polling now shows her losing the GOP primary for Governor by 40 points.