Here comes Ted Stevenot in Ohio

The conservatives-getting-challenges-from-the-Tea-Party motif continues — we’ve seen it in Texas, in PA we’ve seen an unpopular Governor become a Tea Party ally, and on the Amazon show Betas we’ve seen it depicted hilariously — with Ted Stevenot challenging John Kasich in a Republican gubernatorial primary in Ohio. Stevenot is the president of the Ohio Liberty Coalition, and his presumed running mate as LTG (Brenda Mack) is the current VP of the Frederick Douglass Foundation of Ohio. Kasich has been tied to Ohio politics for years, but his approval rating about a month ago was under 50 percent against some of his Democratic rivals. As for why the Tea Party is throwing a person into this ring, the basic idea is that Kasich has drifted too far from the right, especially with regards to ObamaCare. He decided to expand Medicaid using $2.5 billion of federal money to cover low-income Ohio residents. Seems like a good thing to do — aside from the basic f’ed up nature of how the health care funding game works — but it upset the far right and now we have a primary season challenge.

Tom Zawistowski, the president of the Ohio Liberty Coalition before Stevenot, now seems to run an event called the “We The People Convention.” Here’s a clip.

I don’t really have a lot to say here; it doesn’t seem like Stevenot will be a major challenge because Kasich still has the backing of most key Republicans in Ohio (so he should get though at least a primary). His primary Democratic challenger was supposed to be Ed Fitzgerald, a county executive around Cleveland, but he’s stumbled a bit (his LTG choice was revealed to have tax issues and had to drop out of the race) and now has his own primary challenge. As for the Tea Party, Zawistowski — the previous president of the Liberty Coalition — said this to The Daily Beast:

“The problem we have nationwide is that in trying to participate in the process, we have come to understand that the two major parties have hijacked the political process. They are by their own admission election machines. They do everything they can to make sure there is no primary so voters can’t choose.”

I get it and I agree with some of that — there should be more transparency and it should be easier for an “average Joe” to run for office if they have ideas — but I also don’t see how adding money to the process (as a primary would do) and bringing in a super far-right candidate (as Tea Party challenges tend to) really pushes us towards what we’re aiming for here.

Funniest thing about all this, in many ways, is that when Kasich ran in 2010 for Governor, he told audiences that he was “part of the Tea Party before there was a Tea Party.” That ended up coming back to bite him, eh?

Ted Bauer