News Home
Quick Bites
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
On AirNewsClassical
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Wayside Furniture


Meaden & Moore

For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )

Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Government and Politics

Does Gov. John Kasich have a problem with the conservative base in Ohio?
Tea Party claims Ohio Republicans are trying to falsely link them to Dems

Karen Kasler
Tom Zawistowski, president of the Ohio Citizens PAC
Courtesy of WKSU
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

In this election year, it was inevitable that there would be some unusual political stories that would circulate – some true, some doubtful. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler explains one that’s circulating around the state.

Hear more from Kasler on the claims the Tea Partiers are being backed by OH Dems

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:27)

Here’s the story, from Tom Zawistowski, president of the Ohio Citizens PAC

“Operatives from the ORP have been calling voters and county officers with a narrative that says the Tea Party is controlled by the Democrats and Tom Zawistowski is paid by the Dems, and our goal is to destroy the Republican Party,” Zawistowski said.

Zawistowski, the head of the Portage County Tea Party, has had harsh words for the Ohio Republican Party and for Gov. John Kasich in particular – mostly over Kasich’s push for Medicaid expansion. Zawistowski says the state Republican Party is “an election machine, and their goal is to elect people so they get money and power.”

Not surprisingly, the Ohio Republican Party is refuting those claims. 

“No, that is not true at all," says spokesman Chris Schrimpf. He says Chairman Matt Borges has "reached out repeatedly to the Tea Party. We continue to reach out to the Tea Party. The chairman’s hand is always open. He speaks to their groups and talks about the ways we can work together and that’s where we continue to do.”

Libertarians in the mix
The claim that Democrats are secretly backing the Tea Party in an attempt to destroy the Republican Party echoes something heard in the protest hearing over Libertarian Charlie Earl’s place on the ballot in the governor’s race. Lawyers say Democrats helped Libertarians gather signatures for Earl to make sure there would be a conservative candidate on the ballot to potentially siphon votes from incumbent Gov. John Kasich.

Libertarians admit that they did work with Democrats, but they say there’s nothing in the law that prevents that. Zawistowski’s Ohio Citizens PAC is supporting seven conservative candidates for the Ohio Senate.That includes one incumbent. The group is also backing 16 candidates for Ohio House, including four incumbents – three of those incumbents have not been endorsed by the Ohio Republican Party. 

Zawistowski says Tea Partiers are disappointed that the ORP has endorsed nearly every other incumbent in the primary, which he says doesn’t give Republican voters a choice of who they want to run in the general election this fall. 

Who's destroying whom
“We’re not trying to destroy the Republican Party,” Zawistowski said. “We think they’ve done a great job of destroying the Republican Party. The Tea Party candidates are trying to restore the Republican Party to Republican values and principles. That’s what we’re doing by running candidates for House and Senate and state Central Committee.”

But Schrimpf says the Republican party endorsed those incumbents based on their records of cutting taxes and creating jobs. And he says the Republican Party will focus on that message, no matter what Zawistowski says. 

“That’s a record we’re proud of and we’re going to continue to talk about,” Schrimpf says.“We’re not going to spend a lot of time engaging with back-and-forth with a gentleman making accusations against us.”

Zawistowski has said publicly that Tea Partiers are comfortable with Democratic candidate Ed FitzGerald beating Kasich this fall, because FitzGerald would face a Republican-dominated Legislature that would likely block his major policy efforts. 

No one from the Ohio Democratic Party wanted to comment on tape. But Chairman Chris Redfern offered in an e-mailed statement with a single sentence: “And to think they say that John Kasich doesn’t have a base problem.”

Add Your Comment


E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook

Stories with Recent Comments

Backers of legalizing marijuana in Ohio promise to be back in 2016
We should be aloud to grow more than 4 plants and not have to register with the state considering it will be a free market.

Akron says it's had no second thoughts about welcoming refugees
What business does Councilman Neal own on North Hill? I'd love to support him. I am so glad to have the refugees in our neighborhood. I have lived here for 25 ...

Scarborough says the University of Akron is trying to rebuild relationships
In order for the University of Akron to grow and become a desirable place for students across Ohio and elsewhere, it must address the crime problem in the Akron...

Ohio Sen. Cliff Hite wants to end pay-to-play sports fees at Ohio's schools
You can bet Hite and Husted will also rush to the rescue of the Academic Challenge team, the speech-and-debate squad, the Science Olympians and the chess club. ...

Ohio lawmakers consider new gun bills
States that have gun restrictions/cities have reduced gun violence is false. CHICAGO has some of the toughest gun laaws/restrictions but yet fun violence is off...

Cleveland's public transit system considers fare increase for 2016
I work with individuals with disabilities. Yes some of my folks need more help than the average person. As a whole, the group I work with however can manuver ju...

Community group sues to re-open part of Wadsworth hospital
My father was part of the founding group of citizens which started the "new" Wadsworth/Rittman Hospital. For some reason the leadership for the future of the ho...

The Cleveland Museum of Art presents painters who loved their gardens
brilliant masterpiece, Greetings from

Ohio Sen. Tom Patton proposes bill for firefighter cancer benefits
Thank you Senator Patton. On behalf of all of those who love our firefighters; we appreciate that someone is standing up for them and their continued health. ??...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University