GOP Chairman blasts Brunner for intimidation
Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett called on Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner today to restore "bipartisan respect and cooperation" to Ohio's election system.
In a news statement issued shortly after Brunner, a Democrat, released results of a statewide survey (see related item below), Bennett cited numerous reports of Brunner's ongoing "heavy-handed tactics" with county election board members for disagreeing with her directives.
"I've heard from board members across the state who are frustrated and threatened by the culture of intimidation coming out of the secretary of state's office," Bennett said. "Jennifer Brunner's message to these longtime elections experts is do it my way or you're fired. Her arrogance is appalling, and quite frankly it shows a profound disrespect for people who have decades of experience running elections in this state."
"She's constantly putting out these threats," Bennett said. "And it does absolutely nothing to inspire loyalty and respect among these board members. Quite frankly, I'm convinced she'd get rid of every one of them if she had the choice. Jennifer Brunner wants to run the elections system in this state like a dictator. I think she'll find out pretty quickly that she needs these people a lot more than they need her."
Bennett also criticized Brunner's "arrogant response" to criticism of her proposals raised by election officials at a recent statewide conference, where she interrupted a Republican board member from Mahoning County who praised his county's touch-screen voting system.
Jeff Ortega, a spokesman for Brunner, said her record on bipartisanship has been clear.
"Secretary of State Brunner asked for and received cooperation from a bipartisan mix of elections officials to help her in crafting recommendations from the recent Project EVEREST report."
Additionally, she has met and talked on a bipartisan basis with elections officials from throughout this state and the public on these important issues, Ortega said. One public hearing was held Tuesday and nine additional town hall meetings are planned.
"Bob Bennett may still be harboring some animosity after his forced resignation from the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections last year," Ortega said.