This morning, I picked up on a post that made some very serious claims about last night’s Darke County T.E.A. Patriots endorsement of Dave Yost for Auditor of State. This comes courtesy of a blogger named Henry Hill from Think Real. Excerpt:
Dave was not at the meeting however his opposition was out in full force. Seth and his family as well as members of his staff. Along with his staff his Darke County Chair was present. From what I hear, after the vote Seth’s chair lost it. Yelling about voter fraud and yelling insults at the counter, she really showed her fringe side.
Seth was in the room, he nor his staff made any attempt to end the situation or calm the woman down. Any normal person who has there (sic) name on the line would probably do something, or maybe leave the room. Seth morgan (sic) just watched.
All emphasis is mine. What you see above is the original from Think Real, which has since been somewhat scrubbed — but not completely. You’ll note that some of the italicized segments are now missing, but “nor his staff” was overlooked. The reason? Henry got it wrong. Morgan’s staff was not present at the meeting; it was only Seth Morgan and his family, along with his volunteer county chair, who were in attendance at the meeting. Henry didn’t bother to get the facts before posting, and he even did a poor job of scrubbing the post when his error became apparent. Clearly a blogger not ready for primetime.
But that isn’t even the best part. The most egregious error is to be found in the premise of the post, that it was the Morgan campaign’s Darke County chair who flipped out. Apparently the Tea Partiers of Darke County saw things a little differently. From the Darke Journal:
When it came time for the vote, it was announced at some point (or it became apparent) that Dori Howdieshell would tally the ballots – see press release below. Seth Morgan’s local representative objected on the basis that Ms. Howdieshell was affiliated with the Yost campaign. This caused a verbal argument between the (sic) Morgan’s representative and Mr. [Al] Bliss in which Mr. Bliss yelled out the f-word in the presence of Seth Morgan’s young children. Although nobody could provide a direct quote, the context consistently referenced was that Mr. Bliss didn’t “f****** care” what Morgan’s representative thought.
Emphasis is again mine. As you can see, eyewitnesses thought it was Mr. Bliss who lost it — by dropping the f-bomb right there in front of Rep. Morgan’s children. By the way, did I mention that this meeting was held in a church? The Lighthouse Christian Center, to be exact. That’s right, Al Bliss dropped the f-bomb, in front of children, inside a church. And we’re supposed to believe it was Seth Morgan’s county chair who lost her cool?
So just who is Mr. Al Bliss? Well, he’s the “leader” of the Darke County T.E.A. Patriots, according to this article. My own sources have referred to him as the “president.” I would prefer to think of him as the chairman or the fuhrer. But that’s not the most interesting part. Al Bliss is married to Lyn Bliss, who apparently spoke on behalf of Dave Yost, who was not in attendance. Why on earth would she do a thing like that, you ask? Well, because she’s Yost’s Darke County campaign chair!
You heard that right. Al Bliss, the president of the Darke County T.E.A. Patriots that endorsed Dave Yost last night, is married to Yost’s county chair. Now, believe me, it took me a while to confirm that Lyn Bliss is in fact Yost’s county chair.
I tried calling the Yost campaign initially for confirmation. I asked them a simple question: Who is the Yost campaign’s chair for Darke County? And what did they ask me? Well, they asked for my name. I told them it was Nate Nelson. They then asked my reason for inquiring. I told them I wanted to contact her about the Darke County T.E.A. Patriots’ endorsement of Dave Yost last night (and, believe me, I did). They then asked who I was with. I told them I was a blogger. Finally, they asked for my phone number so they could call me back. They never did call me back. My guess is they realized that I’m that Nate Nelson, the senior editor of From the Rust Belt, the guy who has been a thorn in Dave Yost’s side since he became an ORP man and announced his switch from the Attorney General’s race to the Auditor of State’s race.
But I digress. The point is that Al Bliss is married to Lyn Bliss, and Lyn Bliss is Dave Yost’s county chair for Darke County. Could there be just a small conflict of interest there? I’m just sayin’.
But there’s more:
The upset attendees cited the friendship of Mr. Bliss, Mrs. Bliss, and Ms. Howdieshell [who counted the votes], and their perceived support of the Yost and Robinson campaigns. Several spoke of quitting the current Tea Party or forming a new Tea Party.
A number of people attended the meeting with the expectation of voting, but at some point it was announced that only those people who had attended a prior Tea Party meeting would be eligible to vote. As a result, only 43 ballots were cast. Many people were disappointed at not being able to vote.
And even more:
Ms. Howdieshell proceeded with the tally of the votes in private, and unlike the press release below, several attendees commented on the vote taking “a long time,” or as much as a half hour.
The best part — or worst, depending on your perspective — is that this information has been independently corroborated by my own sources. In fact, my sources claimed that Ms. Howdieshell counted the votes behind a counter, out of sight of the attendees.
Why do I emphasize “behind a counter”? Well, only because Henry Hill at Think Real — no doubt inadvertently — confirms this piece of information himself. Remember his statement that Morgan’s county chair was “yelling insults at the counter”? When I first read this, before any investigation, I had no idea why anyone would be yelling at the counter. Apparently, even Mr. Henry Hill knows that these ballots were counted behind a counter and out of sight of the attendees. Thank you, Mr. Hill, for what may be the only actual fact to be found in your post.
This is a lot of information to digest. What does it all mean? It reads like a script from “Days of Our Tea Party.” Let me see if I can boil it down for you.
Dave Yost, the Ohio Republican Party, and their supporters are desperate. Seth Morgan has built grassroots momentum that has left them quaking in their boots. He has received numerous county party endorsements while Yost has received relatively few. He has received the endorsement of the Ohio Liberty Council, which represents most of the Tea Parties and 9/12 groups in Ohio (by the way, the Darke County T.E.A. Patriots have distanced themselves from the Ohio Liberty Council — h/t Right Ohio). Seth Morgan is clearly the grassroots, Tea Party candidate for Auditor of State. Dave Yost and Kevin DeWine are afraid they can’t stand in the way of that kind of momentum anymore.
Dave Yost badly needed a Tea Party endorsement. He finally got one.
Yes, Dave Yost got his Tea Party endorsement. He got that endorsement by a Tea Party formed only within the past couple of months, led by a man who is married to Yost’s Darke County campaign chair. He got that endorsement via an extremely fishy voting procedure, concealed by all accounts — even that of one of his supporters — under the cover of a counter. He got that endorsement despite questions raised, questions that were dismissed with bellicose profanity spewed by Al Bliss, in the presence of children, inside a church.
Dave Yost got his Tea Party endorsement. He got it through gangster tactics employed by his supporters in Darke County, and by a reckless disregard for truth and journalistic integrity on the part of his blogging supporter, Mr. Henry Hill. These are the same gangster tactics that the Ohio Republican Party has employed on behalf of Dave Yost all along. These tactics are sickening. They are an affront to our democratic republican values. These tactics, those who make use of them, and the candidate who turns a blind eye to it all should be utterly repudiated by conservative Republicans throughout the state.
Darke County Tea Party patriots now find themselves in the strange position of being forced to stand up not only to government, but to the leaders of their own Tea Party. They should do so for the preservation of their movement and the values it represents. Dave Yost should step aside from the Auditor of State race, or else prepare to face the full momentum of the grassroots tidal wave that is headed his way on May 4. Henry Hill should entirely retract his recklessly false post and leave blogging to those who prefer facts over hackery. And Kevin DeWine should prepare to resign his chairmanship of the Ohio Republican Party in disgrace immediately following the elections this November.
In the meantime, you and I should keep doing what we’ve been doing. We should keep supporting Seth Morgan, CPA for Ohio Auditor of State — the Tea Party candidate, the grassroots candidate, our candidate, and the most qualified candidate to serve as our next Auditor. Let them keep up their petty games and old politics. We’ll show them in May. We’ll show David Pepper in November. And we’ll have Kevin DeWine’s job by December, at the latest.
UPDATE: Forgot to mention that the Darke County T.E.A. Patriots also endorsed Jon Husted for Secretary of State and Mike DeWine for Attorney General last night. When was the last time you heard of a legitimate Tea Party group endorsing either Husted or DeWine? I rest my case.