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Summit Republicans Challenge Party Chairman

Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 5:55 AM

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A splinter group of the Summit County Republican Party has named a Cuyahoga Falls Councilwoman as their candidate to challenge longtime chairman Alex Arshinkoff. Ideastream Politics reporter Kymberli Hagelberg has details.

Carol Klinger told supporters that it’s possible to win elections in strongly Democratic Summit County if Republicans rebuild the party - starting with replacing its chairman.

Then she ticked off a list of Arshinkoff’s alleged misdeeds, including using party money for his car payment.

Klinger: “Things like running an independent against a sitting Republican office holder. Escalade payments, $600,000 a year to run our county party—that’s absurd.

The group that calls itself the New Summit Republicans also has criticized Arshinkoff for refusing to field candidates against Akron’s mayor and council members.

Klinger will need the majority of votes from Republican Central Committee members if she wants to depose Arshinkoff, who has held the office since 1978. In a break with party tradition, her group will try to institute rules that allow the committee to vote by secret ballot.

Elections board member Don Varian says secrecy is needed because party officials are afraid of Arshinkoff.

Varian:"They’re saying Don, I’m with you, I want to help any way I can but I can’t because I don’t want to lose my job.”

If Arshinkoff is replaced, it will be more than just a blip on the radar for state and national republicans. In 2000, he raised almost $5 million -more than half went to George W. Bush’s national campaign. The rest was spent on local and state races statewide.

With those financial connections, Arshinkoff’s demise might be premature, says Dr. William Binning, a YSU political science professor who was a Republican party leader in the 1980s.

Binning: …"This is his Waterloo. It will be fun to watch and see what the outcome is. He’s certainly got a lot of liabilities, but my nickels on him.”

Republicans will decide whether Arshinkoff stays or goes when they meet in mid-April.
Kymberli Hagelberg, 90.3

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