Ohio GOP Wasted $112K in House District 27 Primary

Peter Stautberg
Ohio Rep. Peter Stautberg (R-Anderson Twp.)

Ohio Republican Party (ORP) leaders blew $112,039 this spring on in-kind support for incumbent Rep. Peter Stautberg, who lost the May 6 Republican primary in Ohio House District 27.

Stautberg’s committee reported expenditures of $156,766 during the pre-primary and post-primary campaign finance periods — more than 6 times the $23,069 that winner Tom Brinkman’s campaign committee spent.

Including in-kind support, Stautberg spent more than 11 times as much as Brinkman only to lose the primary race 54 to 46 percent.

Brinkman, a former Ohio House member and founder of Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST), received no in-kind support.

Ohio House Republican Organizational Committee (OHROC) and ORP’s State Central and Executive Committee State Candidate Fund spent $112,039 on media buys, printing, and postage for Stautberg during the pre-primary and post-primary reporting periods.

Remarkably, Republican leadership didn’t just spend six figures promoting Stautberg, a reliable party-line vote; much of ORP’s in-kind support for Stautberg came in the form of attack ads smearing Brinkman as an ally of President Obama.

House District 27 is located in eastern Hamilton County, one of the most conservative parts of Ohio. OHROC and ORP poured $112,039 into the race not to stop an “unelectable” candidate from advancing to the general election, but to keep a conservative out of the Ohio House.

Brinkman ran on opposition to Common Core and the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, two big-government policies that are supported by the Ohio GOP because they are supported by Republican Governor John Kasich.

In neighboring Clermont County and neighboring Warren County, grassroots activists have taken over the GOP’s county central committees since the May 6 primary. They are encouraging liberty-minded citizens across Ohio to do the same.

“One of the many lessons to be learned in this story is not to listen to the naysayers.  Though it does require work, taking back the parties is extremely doable,” Clermont County activist Ted Stevenot wrote.

“If we are to reclaim our country from the progressives and the cronies, more grassroots takeovers of local parties must become the norm,” Stevenot added.

Although dishonest, ORP’s portrayal of the more conservative candidate in the 27th House District primary as a secret Democrat could at least be explained as part of the typical incumbency protection racket.

But when it comes to conservative incumbents, ORP and OHROC are far less protective.

ORP endorsed only 2 of the 6 incumbent House Republicans who sued over Gov. Kasich’s Obamacare expansion. Rep. Matt Lynch (R-Bainbridge Twp.) chose not to seek reelection after an ORP staffer’s wife filed to unseat him in the primary, and in a move one lawmaker called “unprecedented,” ORP refused to endorse the other 3 incumbents.