SHEFFIELD TWP. — Local tea party leader Randy Newman said Thursday that he has the votes to depose the current leadership of the Lorain County Republican Party and install a “totally social and fiscal conservative group.”
Newman accused the current leadership, including Republican Party Chairwoman Helen Hurst, of being Republicans in name only and said he will use a “political DNA test” to determine who has the correct conservative beliefs to remain with the party.
Newman isn’t a member of the county Republican Party’s Central Committee, which will vote on who will lead the party at a meeting that will likely will be early next month. But he said he has 55 Central Committee members who will vote with him to oust Hurst when he asks them to.
Among those he listed as allies is Amherst City Councilman Phil Van Treuren, who is the Republican challenging county Commissioner Ted Kalo, a Democrat, in November.
But Van Treuren said he isn’t part of Newman’s efforts to seize control of the county’s Republican Party.
“I support Helen Hurst 100 percent,” he said Thursday. “I think she’s doing a terrific job, and I think she should stay right where she’s at.”
Hurst said she is troubled by Newman’s insistence on ideological purity, but that he has every right to his opinion.
“Every Republican I know is an independent voter,” she said. “We don’t lockstep for anybody.”
David Arredondo, who serves as vice chairman of the county Republican Party, said he’s heard bold pronouncements from Newman in the past. He pointed out that Newman’s efforts to become a local Central Committee member and to challenge Bob Rousseau for a place on the state Central Committee both failed.
“Randy Newman’s got a dismal track record with anything he says he’s going to achieve,” Arredondo said. Arredondo said he considers himself and Hurst conservatives and supports the tea party movement, but doesn’t believe Newman has the power he thinks he does.
“He’s well-intentioned, but he’s not very practical,” he said.
If his slate of candidates ends up losing the vote, Newman said he would create his own Republican Party and try to get the state Central Committee to declare his organization the true Lorain County Republican Party.
Newman said he would actually have had 57 votes in his corner to help him replace the current party leadership had two of the candidates he was backing for the Central Committee not lost tie-breaker coin tosses during a county Board of Elections meeting Thursday.
In the primary earlier this month, Roberta Taylor and Pamela Welling each received 20 votes in their race to be one of the Republican Central Committee members from Elyria. Taylor won the coin toss in that race.
In the second tied race, Kathleen Jacobcik received 63 votes in her race to become Central Committee member from LaGrange, while her opponent, Kenneth Kay, received 64 votes.
But elections board Deputy Director Jim Kramer said that an absentee ballot that was mailed March 5 and arrived at the board offices on March 8 tied the race with Jacobcik and Kay each receiving 64 votes. Jacobcik won that coin toss.
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or firstname.lastname@example.org.