Liz Walters becomes a favorite of the Ohio Democratic Party leader after the support of the Great Workforce Supporter Sherrod Brown

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Democratic bigwigs have thrown their support behind Summit County Councilor Liz Walters to become the next Ohio Democratic Party leader. Those responsible for powerful voter blocs say they received enough votes to win Thursday’s election.

This includes an endorsement from Senator Sherrod Brown – the state’s best-known Democrat – and substantial support for the unions in the race for the success of the now resigned Chairman David Pepper.

“Liz Walters spent her life serving our state and fighting for the dignity of work,” Brown said in a statement. “She understands the challenges our state is facing and has put forward a broad vision that will enable our party to compete in every community in Ohio, raise and lower strong candidates, and show working families in Ohio that the Democrats are on their side. Liz’s deep experience, dedication to justice and her ability to deliver results make her the best person to serve as the next chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party. “

Born from a group of six candidates down to five following the retirement of former Senator Lou Gentile, Walters has also garnered the support of OAPSE and AFSCME voters on the executive committee, union leader Joe Rugola said.

Rugola said he was confident Walters had enough votes to win Thursday’s election.

“This will be a big change for the Democratic Party to have a woman in its chair,” said Rugola. “It will also change other dynamics within the party. I believe we must be overly sensitive to the concerns of our African American and other minority leaders in the party about how the party is being run and what we are going to do with the high-level personnel professions at ODP after a new chairmanship. “

Brown and Rugola’s support is a huge boost for Walters, the party’s former executive director. The two Democrats didn’t always agree on who to support for the presidency, such as their public disagreements during the 2014 race when Pepper emerged victorious.

The Ohio Young Black Democrats also announced their support for Walters, but criticized the chairman’s election process, calling for a black vice chairman or executive director to serve alongside Walters, as well as 20% of the executive committee and 20% of the paid staff, be representative of the Black Community.

“While supporting Ms. Walters’ candidacy, we felt a need to speak out against the talks in this process that excluded the Ohio Black Democratic leaders,” the group wrote in a letter to the Executive Committee. “Black people are the backbone of the Democratic Party and represent the most enduring Democratic electoral bloc in Ohio to date. Talks and backdoor deals are an antiquated and exclusive process that only serves to alienate blacks who have given their all to the Democratic Party and tirelessly have worked to be involved in important decisions about the direction and leadership of the party. These processes are a bigger problem within the National Democratic Party. “

Walters had turned out to be a likely front runner after Gentile’s departure, and Columbus-based political strategist Antoinette Wilson also had significant support.

Wilson said in an interview that she is still fighting and has no intention of withdrawing before Thursday’s vote.

“I have significant support on the Executive Committee,” she said. “We have a vote on Thursday and I’m going on.”

Walters did not respond to a request for comment.

The Democrats were originally supposed to pick the person to succeed Pepper, who led the party from December 2015 to 2020, but postponed the vote a few weeks until Jan 14 to allow for more member scrutiny.

Vice-Chair Rhine McLin, who is not a candidate for the race, is currently serving as Chair.

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