COLUMBUS, Ohio – Six candidates have thrown their proverbial hats into the ring to become the next Democratic Party leader in Ohio.
What you need to know
- Six candidates have thrown their proverbial hats into the ring to become the next leader of the Ohio Democratic Party
- The current chairman of the ODP, David Pepper, recently announced that he would step down at the end of the year
- The Vice-Chairperson of the ODP, Rhine McLin, will serve as interim Chairperson on January 1 until a new Chairperson is elected on Jan 14th
The current chairman of the ODP, David Pepper, recently announced that he would step down at the end of the year.
“I was honored to serve in this position,” said Pepper.
Pepper addressed the Ohio Democratic Party Executive Committee Tuesday night. His five-year term as chairman ends after massive losses in the 2020 presidential and state house races.
The Liberals closed the edge of the Ohio Supreme Court under Pepper’s watch from 7-0 to 4-3.
“I think about what we could do more and better every day, and I’m warm and excited to hear other people’s conversations,” said Pepper.
ODP Deputy Chair, Rhine McLin, will serve as Interim Chair from January 1 until a new Chair is elected on January 14.
The party voted to postpone the vote a few weeks so that a clear leader can emerge from the six-person race.
Candidates to replace Pepper include: Democratic strategist Antoinette Wilson, former Senator Lou Gentile, Summit County councilor Elizabeth Walters, former 25th House District candidate, Gary Josephson, former 8th candidate. Congressional District, Vanessa Enoch, and Columbus activist Will Klatt.
Everyone spoke for a few minutes on Tuesday night to say how they would bring the party forward.
Antoinette Wilson: “It has to be rebuilt. Our party has to reflect the diversity of our Democratic Party.”
Will Klatt: “We still have to meet the requirements of Black Lives Matter and deal with systemic racism in our urban cores, many of which are run by us.”
Lou Gentile: “In our rural and manufacturing counties, we need to reconnect with workers, and we can do this by organizing people, meeting where they are, and connecting with them on issues that matter in their lives. “
Gary Josephson: “The Democratic Party needs an economic plan. Part of the return of prosperity is to build our way out. We should encourage new building and transportation initiatives from the state level to neighborhoods.”
Vanessa Enoch: “I think we now have the opportunity to make change and influence our communities to include people who have never been involved in change.”
Elizabeth Walters: “The work ahead is not easy and not small. Ohio has been ticked off the national map as a lost cause. We know this is not true and it is up to us to prove it.”
ODP said other candidates can join the race if they want at any time.
Several more forums are planned for the next month where candidates can sell themselves to the committee.
The winner needs the support of at least half of the members.