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Politics is big in these parts, and we’ve got it covered. John Arthur Hutchison and other staff writers will offer their inside information on the events, big news and little moments of the local political scene in Lake, Geauga and eastern Cuyahoga counties.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Ohio GOP selects new leader, former chair endorses Portman for U.S. Senate

As expected, the Ohio Republican Party has a new chairman, a man who has been groomed for the position for more than a year as the deputy chairman.

According to the Associated Press, Kevin DeWine, a former state representative from Fairborn, was unanimously elected Friday by members of the state GOP Central Committee.

He replaces Bob Bennett, who served almost 21 years and was the longest-serving state Republican Party chairman in the U.S.

DeWine takes over as Republicans have suffered multiple setbacks in recent elections. He’ll try to restore the GOP to primacy in time for the 2010 election.

Bennett, now referring to himself as a Republican National Committeeman, on Friday issued a statement that he has officially endorsed former U.S. Rep. Rob Portman as his choice to run for U.S. Senate in 2010. Voinovich has previously announced he would not seek a third term.

As of this writing, the Ohio Republican Party had not officially endorsed any candidate for the position.

Portman has been busy lining up supporters, so it remains to be seen if anyone will run against him in a Republican primary.

U.S. Rep. Steven C. LaTourette, R-Bainbridge Township, hasn't ruled out whether he would be interested in running for the Senate seat in 2010.

"There will be plenty of time to think about the 2010 Senate race in Ohio," he said Monday after Voinovich announced his intentions.

-- John Arthur Hutchison


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