Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Is Arshinkoff counting on a rainbow?

IT WOULD BE fair to assume that no one is enjoying the ride to the November elections in Ohio more than Alex Arshinkoff, a.k.a. the oft-eruptive chairman of the Summit County Republican Party. Two of his favorite people, John Kasich and Mike DeWine are, at this stage, running ahead of their Democratic opponents. Should they win, Alex is hoping to find the opportunity to rise above his current status as the head of a party with 10 pct. registration in Summit County. Any higher title would be welcome, whether in the Kasich administration or, less likely since he is not a lawyer, somewhere in the ranks of the DeWine's attorney general's office.

How do we know this? You need only to look at the history of a mercurial man who has been futilely seaching for a statewide playing field for years - or at least his name on a building at the University of Akron and a paying job at the U - none of which materialized such fantasies about his importance in the broader scheme of things political.

Exaggeration? Hardly. As a young man, he was turned down for a job at City Hall by ex-Mayor John Ballard. Hoping to impress then-Gov. George Voinovich, he spent a year raising a handsome treasury for another Voinovich campaign in hopes of winning an endorsement from the guv for state GOP chairman. When the time came, Voinovich, who has always played his cards close to the vest, cast his support for the establishment incumbent, Robert Bennett, at state headquarters.

With the arrival of both George Bushes in the White House, Arshinkoff was a 24/7 soldier for them, even got invited to the White House and Kennebunkport. To show his gratitude for their attention, he took out a second mortgage on his house in Hudson for $25,000 and sent it all to the Bush II folks campaign - which had the same impact as an offer to take Donald Trump to lunch at McDonald's. Still he was gratified by conversations with Karl Rove who told him "We're keeping you in mind, Alex." Fat chance!

In the last Ohio gubernatoriallRepublican primary campaign, he lashed then-State Auditor Jim Petro in reprisal for Petro's failure to find fault in an audit of Summit County Executive Jim McCarthy. a Democrat. Arshinkoff threw his support to Betty Montgomery. When she dropped out of the race, he endorsed Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, whose rhetoric glibly skimmed over the emptiness of his vision. Blackwell, as we all know , was soundly defeated by the current Democratic Governor, Ted Strickland, the guy that Arshinkoff now wants to depose.

All of this occurred while he was in constant battles with the Democrats at home as a member of the Board of Elections, from which Secretary of State Brunner ejected him. He's also withstood two local challenges by a Republican faction that came after him with a largely incoherent game plan.

It has been, at best, a rocky ride for his decades of party chairmanship. If he doesn't squeeze out a job this time, it might be time to consider craigslist.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If he does leave, I would assume Bryan Williams would take over as chair of the Summit County Republican Party. While Alex can borrow money and take out loans to give to campaigns, his actual value to the state party is minimal. Its about getting people elected. Regardless of his rahrah cheerleading at the finance dinner, statewide candidates can't win in Summit County. John Kasich down the ticket will not win Summit County.