Ohio Democratic chair stepping down

Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper will visit Butler County Feb. 14 to talk about the upcoming statewide political cycle. STAFF FILE PHOTO
Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper will visit Butler County Feb. 14 to talk about the upcoming statewide political cycle. STAFF FILE PHOTO

Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper will step down at the end of the year, clearing the way for new leadership for the first time in six years.

When asked about his proudest accomplishments, Pepper, of Cincinnati, pointed to winning three of four Ohio Supreme Court races as well as a majority of appellate court seats across Ohio and building a strong bench of local elected officials. He also led the party when Democrat Sherrod Brown won re-election to the U.S. Senate.

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But under Pepper’s direction, the party lost high profile contests, including all the statewide executive posts in 2018, a U.S. senate race in 2016 and two presidential races in 2016 and 2020.

Pepper’s successor will be picked by the ODP Executive Committee, which is scheduled to meet Dec. 15. Pepper pledged to work with the new chairperson toward a smooth transition.

He said he wasn’t pressured to resign but said it was time for a change. “These are jobs without a long shelf-life for a reason,” he said.

Pepper declined to say whether he is gearing up for a run for statewide office in 2022. He lost races for state auditor in 2010 and attorney general in 2014.

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