Letter to David A. Pepper, Chairman Ohio Democratic Party

March 12, 2018

Mr. David A. Pepper

Chairman Pepper:

The Ohio Democratic Party is failing the Democratic voters of the State of Ohio – badly and inexcusably. For a party that has lost six of the last seven gubernatorial races and has been unable to elect a candidate to any executive-branch office since 2008, the ODP’s “handling” of the primary election campaign for Governor is causing serious concern and raising serious suspicions among rank and file Democratic voters across the state.

Since January, when the current field of four Democratic candidates was set, there has been one debate. One. A Party proposal for a second debate on April 11 in the Republican stronghold of Butler County immediately became ensnarled in “scheduling conflicts” and a mad scramble to re-schedule.

I suggest that the Party stage at least one debate every week, beginning next week, in every major urban area in Ohio, as a show of good faith to Democratic voters statewide.

Considering the stakes, the Party with an abysmal, decades’ long won-loss record should be more aggressive in providing opportunities for all voters across the state to see and hear what the Democratic nominees have to offer, how they differ, and what they stand for.

It is especially urgent that the Party put forth a fuller and more transparent effort given the persistent rumors, innuendos, and media speculation that one of the four candidates is the not-so-secret favorite of what is commonly referred to as the “Democratic Establishment.”

The purpose of a primary election campaign is to empower voters to choose the candidate who they believe will best represent their interests. It should not be a charade that protects and promotes a candidate whom some believe has already been “anointed” by “The Establishment.” Further, the fact that this candidate lost in his last election to the current Republican front-runner by 50,000 votes would seem to make any “anointing” comical if it weren’t so risky.

The ODP has said that the staging of debates is dependant on finding a television partner. Given today’s multiple social media platforms and live-streaming technologies, insisting on partnering with one television station in one media market seems sadly arcane.

Our state faces serious challenges. The Republican stranglehold on state government must be ended. Even our Congressional representation in Washington hinges on the Party’s success in winning statewide elections. We cannot win those offices by being timid, vague, or conflicted when it comes to the beliefs, principles and needs of decent, hard-working everyday Ohioans. We must be strong, we must be bold, and we must be unwavering in our commitment to the members of our Party and the citizens of our State.

And, we must be able to win in November.

Democratic voters, and, in fact, all voters will be best served if the Ohio Democratic Party takes an aggressive approach to a full and thorough and spirited public discussion. That means debates — debates that allow for the full presentation of ideas and the full engagement of the principals. The more debates, the better – not for the benefit of the candidates, but for the benefit of the people of the State of Ohio.


Dennis Kucinich


Democratic Nomination for Governor of Ohio