Summit County GOP Chairman Alex Arshinkoff has endorsed State Rep. Seth Morgan (R-Huber Heights) for Ohio Auditor of State. Right Ohio and Weapons of Mass Discussion have the full press release. From the release:
“Seth clearly is the most qualified candidate to be Ohio’s next auditor. He espouses many of Mary Taylor’s qualities as a state auditor candidate, and voters made it clear in 2006 having a CPA as their fiscal watchdog is important. Seth is a fresh face with bold ideas, and the excitement his campaign is generating is just what our ticket needs to beat the Democrats in the fall,” said Summit County Republican Party Chairman Alex Arshinkoff.
If Arshinkoff didn’t believe Seth Morgan could beat Dave Yost in May and David Pepper in November, this endorsement wouldn’t have happened. The widely reported rumor is that John Kasich favors Arshinkoff as a potential replacement for current Ohio Republican Party Chairman Kevin DeWine. If you’re Arshinkoff and you want that job, you don’t make an enemy out of the next Republican Auditor of State. Arshinkoff clearly believes Morgan can beat Yost and Pepper, or he wouldn’t have gotten involved.
This is not good news for Dave Yost and Kevin DeWine. Arshinkoff is a brilliant political strategist who gets Republicans elected in an overwhelmingly Democrat county; he’s very good at reading the political tea leaves. He backed Mary Taylor, who is from Summit County, in 2006, and she became the only Republican to win on the statewide ticket. If Arshinkoff thinks Morgan will win — and if he endorsed him, he does — that really calls into question Dave Yost’s supposed inevitability and superiority as a candidate. This may be the biggest endorsement Morgan has received so far.
Exit question: Given Arshinkoff’s connections to Kasich and Taylor, is it possible that we will see Mary Taylor endorse Seth Morgan?
UPDATE: From the Cleveland Plain Dealer, we learn that the Yost campaign is trying to downplay the importance of Arshinkoff’s endorsement:
Matt Borges, spokesman for Yost, said he believes Arshinkoff decided he would support Morgan before Yost entered the auditor’s race in late January.
“Alex told us he committed to Seth before Dave got in the race, and he’s since been very helpful to Dave,” Borges said. “Meanwhile, we picked up support from one of the largest Republican counties in the state last night.”
Maybe it’s true that Arshinkoff decided to support Morgan before Yost entered the race, but it’s also true that we all knew Yost was thinking about jumping into the Auditor’s race immediately after Morgan announced and before Yost officially announced his intentions. If Arshinkoff had any intention of supporting Yost, he would have waited to see if he jumped into the race before committing to Morgan.
The truth is that the Yost campaign knows how important Arshinkoff’s endorsement is, so they’re trying to make it look like it’s only a half-hearted attempt to keep a promise that Arshinkoff made in haste. They’re trying to make you think this endorsement is not that important. Don’t be fooled. Like the rest of us, Arshinkoff knew there was a possibility that Yost would enter the Auditor’s race. He opted to support Seth Morgan instead.
Meanwhile, as Borges points out, Yost did receive the endorsement of the Delaware County Republican Central Committee. Of course, Delaware County is his home county, so no big surprise there. But yeah, congratulations Dave! It’s good to see you can still attract the support of a county central committee somewhere.