Chairman Chris Redfern
|Congratulations to Chris Redfern, the new chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party .|
I first met Chris Redfern 15 years ago at BGSU. He was a grad student then, and I had just transferred in as a sophomore. He was charismatic and well spoken, and very likeable. I knew then that this guy would go places. And he has. Yesterday evening in a rough-and-tumble, tumultous type of meeting that Democrats are all-too-well known for, Redfern was elected state party chairman.
He has his work cut out for him. The last several Democratic chairmen presided over a terrible electoral slump. Ohio has only one Democrat holding statewide office, Alice Robie Resnick on the Ohio Supreme Court. And the Ohio GOP has had a lock on the governorship for the last 15 years or so, between Taft and Voinovich, and the other statewide executive and federal offices as well. That is the result, as much as anything, of the superb work of Ohio GOP Chairman Bob Bennett, a fantastic man who has my respect both as a man, and as his party's chairman. But finally, with Redfern, I am confident that Chairman Bennett has a worthy Democratic counterpart.
On one hand, with Chris at the helm, this party has nowhere to go but up (short of losing the seat on the Ohio Supreme Court.) Ohio has been a single party state for too long, and the scandal and complacency of the GOP officeholders show it. Jim Petro's values ad only turned me off, and I have never liked Ken Blackwell. I've long liked and supported Betty Montgomery, but where is she these days?
With Redfern in place, Ted Strickland has the chairman he wants while he runs for governor. Unlike the candidacies of Hagan, Fisher and Burch, it is beginning to feel like Ohio could see a real race for governor. And that should be good for this state, regardless of who ultimately wins.