Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett said Monday that he plans to run for a two-year term next week but he wants to put together a succession plan by spring and he will likely begin pulling back from day-to-day operations.
A number of contenders may be interested in stepping in line to succeed Bennett, including Ohio GOP Executive Director Matthew Borges, a long-time political operative with ties to Auditor Dave Yost and Gov. John Kasich.
“You don’t get asked; you have to go out and earn it,” Borges said of the position. “That is something I have to determine if I want to do and am interested in doing.”
Borges signed on as party executive director in May, marking another step toward rebuilding his political career after he was involved in a pay-to-play scandal in 2004 when he served as chief of staff to then state Treasurer Joe Deters. Borges pleaded guilty to giving preferential treatment to some investment brokers. His record was later expunged.
Bennett said others who may be interested include GOP county party chairman Rob Frost of Cuyahoga, Alex Triantafilou of Hamilton and Dave Johnson of Columbiana.
“It is my intention to draw back and to work with a chairman who would be elected,” Bennett said. “I want to make sure it’s somebody everybody is on the same page with and comfortable with.”
The Ohio GOP 66-member State Executive and Central Committee meets Friday Jan. 18 in Columbus to elect officers for a two-year term.
In April, the Ohio GOP endured an intra-family fight in which Kasich and his allies ran a campaign to take over the party’s central committee and force out then-Ohio Republican Party Chairman Kevin DeWine. Bennett returned to the leadership post when DeWine stepped aside.