Grand Old Patronage (Party)

. May 25, 2012.

Loyal readers of this ever-humble column know we have spent the last two installments speculating over who might run for Mayor of Toledo in the 2013 crapshoot. Musing over the possible entrants got us thinking. Where’s
the GOP?

So far all the strongest rumors point to leading Dems taking on Hizzoner Mike Bell Bottoms, himself a lifelong Democrat. Bell didn’t become an “independent” until 2009, when he was courted by Republican-leaning business leaders to topple then-Mayor Carty Finkleburger in an expected showdown. When Carty pulled his eleventh hour incredible vanishing act and ducked from the battle, Bell was left with Democrat Keith Wilkowski as an opponent and an “I” following his name.

To be fair, there was a Republican opponent in that 2009 primary race, one James Moody, who finished a distant third with fifteen per cent of the vote. Moody had never run for office before and was actually a resident of the posh Sylvania hinterlands. A local real estate magnate, Moody claimed a vacant house as his residence in T-Town and promised to move into our lowly burg if elected.
He never got that pleasure, so Moody remains on the outside looking in. The fact that Moody had no realistic chance at winning even if he had been a legitimate Toledo resident begs a larger question.  Where is the Jon Stainbrook GOP?

Out of the running
That same year, 2009, the highest finishing Stainbrook-recruited candidate for Toledo City Council finished ninth with a mere three point six per cent of the vote. That was Constantine Stamos,  who ended up finishing dead last in the general election, not counting something called Wiliam Terry who garnered a total of thirty-six votes out of over one hundred fifty thousand cast.
On to the present day. A quick glance at GOP challengers to Dems in countywide races shows a decided lack of viability. We assume John Marshall is a nice enough chap, but he doesn’t hold a chicken’s chance at a fox convention of beating incumbent Pete Gerken. Ditto Jonathan Anderson against Tina Wozniak.

Suffice it to say the Stainbrook-led Lucas County GOP has not turned out a stellar cast of candidates to challenge the stranglehold of their Dem competitors on elected office across the county.  Just what has the GOP been doing all this time?

This question boils down to the motivation behind the Stainbrook GOP coup which occurred in 2008.  If not to steer the rudderless GOP ship to election spoils, then what?

Bored of elections
Greater spoils indeed. We suspect that Stainbrook figured out the game early on.  The GOP was foundering in 2008 with empty central committee seats allowing for an easy takeover. That allowed for the ultimate prize, for he who controls the Party controls the Party appointed seats on the Lucas County Board of Elections, as well as appointments to jobs within the BoE. All of which pay a salary with
primo bennies.

After assuming Party chairmanship, Stainbrook spent the next few years discrediting the GOP leadership remaining on the BoE, eventually landing the two slots for himself and his lawyer, Anthony DeGidio, who fought the legal battles to open up the cushy seats. His right hand femme fatale, Meghan Gallagher, is currently the BoE director.

This true motivation for the GOP takeover reached its logical conclusion recently with the appointment of Hans Schnapp to the post of elections manager.  Schnapp replaces Gallagher, who was elevated to the directorship.

Schnapp is a FOJ (Friend of Jon) in good standing.  He first surfaced as a hapless candidate for City Council in 2009, finishing a distant seventeenth in the primary with two per cent of the vote. He ran for the District Three seat in 2011, with similar results. He finished last with a grand total of fifty votes.

He had been placed on the 2012 ballot as the sacrificial lamb to be slaughtered by Dem incumbent Bernie Quilter this November. Instead his steadfastness to the Stainbrook cause will be rewarded by a lucrative job with the BoE.

Sail on, FOJers.  Winning elections is for suckers, when appointments are so much easier.