Ohio Republican Party Chairman Kevin DeWine is stepping down, leaving behind a bitter fight for control of the party, due to pressure from Gov. John Kasich and his political aides.
DeWine, in a letter to the GOP state central committee, said he will step down April 13,when the party’s governing body meets to reorganize, according to the Columbus Dispatch
DeWine has been party chairman since 2009, but Kasich has been pushing for his resignation, resulting in a bitter fight for control of the central committee during the March 6 primary and possibly causing a split in the party. Analysts say Republicans will need to carry Ohio to defeat President Barack Obama this fall.
Kasich and his backers, including Republican House Speaker William G. Batchelder, complained DeWine was divisive and showed favoritism to certain candidates and elected officials. DeWine in turn complained Kasich and his lobbyist friends wanted a committee that Kasich could better control.
DeWine said on March 18 he would not seek another term in January, but Kasich pushed him to resign immediately. Kasich was reportedly prepared to overthrow DeWine at next week’s committee meeting.
In his resignation letter, DeWine said the intraparty battle could have led to a meeting in which “that fight could erupt into a party-splitting dispute that no one will win and everyone will lament.”
Former Ohio GOP Chairman Robert T. Bennett, 73, is expected to come out of retirement to lead the party, and will likely take over at the meeting.
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