County Republicans tell Stow judge he’s not welcome at party events

By Paula Schleis and Stephanie Warsmith
Beacon Journal staff writers

October 22, 2013

 

County Republicans tell Stow judge he’s not welcome at party events October 23,2013 03:21 AM GMT Paula Schleis and Stephanie Warsmith Beacon Journal Publishing Co. Copyright � 2013 Beacon Journal Publishing Co. Inc and Black Press. All Rights Reserved. Any copying, redistribution or retransmission of any of the contents of this service without the express written consent of the Akron Beacon Journal is expressly prohibited.

Stow Municipal Judge Kim Hoover has been banned from attending local Republican Party events, and central or executive committee members who support him will lose their posts, according to a letter hand-delivered to the judge’s bailiff on Monday.

The letter, signed by Summit County Republican Party Chair Alex Arshinkoff, says Hoover lost the right to any party support when he filed as a “nonpartisan” in seeking to retain the seat he has held for 18 years.

Hoover, who supported a failed effort to oust Arshinkoff, has been a target of local party leaders for years.

This year, to avoid a Republican primary showdown in which he expected to be at a disadvantage, Hoover took advantage of a little-known law that allowed him to skip the Republican primary and advance straight to the Nov. 5 general election as a nonpartisan candidate.

Arshinkoff highlighted Section 9.1 of the party’s Code of Regulations, which says the party will only support “those state and local candidates who are duly nominated in Republican primary elections …”

The decision to avoid the primary “brings with it the consequence that you are not a candidate who has been duly nominated in a Republican primary election,” the letter said. “Thus, you are not eligible for any support by the Summit County Republican Party.”

Also, “any member who supports you will cease to be a member of his/her respective committee,” Arshinkoff wrote.

Hoover responds

In a written response, Hoover questioned why Arshinkoff retained his party seat when he endorsed and gave party money to his niece, Betty Konen, when she ran as an independent against Mary Spicer, the “duly nominated” Republican primary winner for Summit County common pleas judge in 2002.

“It is mistreatment of those that oppose your decisions that has driven solid Republicans from the county organization,” Hoover said.

Arshinkoff said Tuesday that the party’s Central Committee voted to change its rules in 2002, allowing it to support independent candidates, and specifically Konen. He said that rule was revoked two years later, returning to the status quo.

Arshinkoff said the party sent the letter to Hoover after the judge’s court administrator, Rick Klinger, made reservations for one of five scheduled Republican rallies around the county. Klinger, who is a precinct committee member, had made the reservations for himself and his wife, Carol Ann Klinger, who is a Cuyahoga Falls City Council member, and for Hoover and his wife, Cheryl.

The party holds these rallies for Republican precinct committee members, poll workers and supporters to learn about the GOP candidates and the party’s plans.

Under the party’s rules, the Klingers would be permitted to attend the event, but not the Hoovers, Arshinkoff said.

“If we did not put it in writing, it would be an endorsement of a violation of the rules,” Arshinkoff said.

Hoover said he didn’t know Klinger made the reservations until Jeff Iula, another Cuyahoga Falls council member who works for the local party headquarters, delivered Arshinkoff’s letter to his office.

Hoover said that while he finds his banishment hypocritical, he’s not upset and that he wouldn’t have been able to make Tuesday night’s rally in Cuyahoga Falls anyway. He was already scheduled to be the keynote speaker at an Akron Bar Association event across town.

Another persona non grata

Kevin Coughlin, a former state senator who followed Hoover’s lead in filing as a nonpartisan for the Stow clerk of courts seat, said he didn’t receive a letter banning him from county Republican events, but that’s probably because he wasn’t expected to attend. Like Hoover, he has been on the outs with the county party after helping to lead the attempt to remove Arshinkoff from power.

“I am proud to support Republicans around the state and country and have great relationships with party candidates, but I haven’t attended a party event in Summit County since 2004,” he said.

Arshinkoff confirmed that Coughlin also wouldn’t be welcomed at the rallies.

If Hoover ever did show up at a rally, Arshinkoff said he would warn that allowing Hoover to speak would be a violation of the party’s rules and he would suggest that the rally be adjourned. Arshinkoff, the party’s chairman for 36 years, said he wants to avoid Hoover filing a lawsuit against him for violating the party’s rules.

“I’m not going to give up my chairmanship to make them happy,” he said.

Paula Schleis can be reached at 330-996-3741 or pschleis@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/paulaschleis. Stephanie Warsmith can be reached at 330-996-3705, swarsmith@thebeaconjournal.com or on Twitter: @swarsmith.

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