Thursday, November 13, 2008

Should Dimora resign? "I'm not there quite yet," says state Dem chair

Lots of buzz this week on political blogs about whether Chris Redfern, the Ohio Democratic Party chairman, will ask Jimmy Dimora to resign as Cuyahoga County Democratic chairman. So I called Redfern.

"That's for others to decide. I’m not there quite yet," Redfern said late today.

Barack Obama's share of the vote in Cuyahoga County was higher than John Kerry's in 2004, but not by a lot. "Among the worst performers was Cuyahoga County," Redfern told me. "At a national election of this magnitude, you would expect [better]. Obviously, the distractions Jimmy and others have been dealing with in the last few months clearly impacted this particular election."

The Plain Dealer's Mark Naymik wrote about Redfern's disappointment with Cuyahoga's results on Monday. "With the election over, it won't be surprising if party leaders press Dimora, who's at the center of a massive public corruption probe, to step aside soon," Naymik wrote. Bloggers picked up on that and on Redfern's comments Tuesday at a public forum in Pepper Pike about the election and Dimora. (See this post on Buckeye State Blog, including the comments at the bottom.) The bloggers thought Redfern was saying Dimora's situation would be dealt with in a few weeks.

"I was speaking about the weakness of the county party," Redfern says. "The state party will be providing county leadership and county activists intensive training in the first quarter of next year." That'll include several counties, such as Youngstown's Mahoning County, where Redfern thinks Democratic turnout should've been higher. "Those unwilling to embrace strong robust county parties [should] change or step aside. It's nothing to do specifically with Jimmy."

I asked Redfern if he thought Dimora should stay on the county commission. "That's for others to decide," he repeated. "I'm not a constituent."

Sounds like Redfern is letting Dimora dangle in the wind, but isn't yet ready to push him out.

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