Trumbull GOP feud hits new low

An ongoing rift between the Trumbull County Republican Party chairman and his local party’s nominee for the 64th House seat should be an embarrassment to anyone involved in the party’s politics.

The well-publicized dispute between Trumbull County Republican Party Chairman Randy Law and former party Secretary Martha Yoder, who is now the party’s nominee for the 64th House District representative, has been ongoing for months. Infighting has given way to civil court action, pending over Law’s move to remove Yoder and two others from their party leadership positions, along with things like control of the party’s electronic assets and party by-laws.

That’s bad enough for any party in advance of a quickly approaching election, but the feud dipped to a new all-time low for both of them when Yoder offered Law an obscene hand gesture at a well-attended candidates night last week in Mecca.

Both Yoder and Law acknowledged the incident occurred, but they dispute whether anyone else saw it. Regardless, the move was childish and tasteless for anyone at a public event, not to mention for a candidate hoping to win state office.

Law’s response was equally questionable, when he began sharing details of the episode openly with anyone who would listen, including Yoder’s opponent, Democratic incumbent Michael O’Brien. Even O’Brien acknowledged that he thought it was odd that Law shared the incident with him, effectively involving a Democrat in Republican party politics. It’s apparent that the personal feud has led Law to work against his party’s candidate.

Yoder won the party’s nomination for 64th district when she handily defeated opponent Richard Hlaudy in the March Republican primary, claiming 64 percent of the votes. One would think that would be enough reason for a party chairman to endorse and support his party’s candidate against a Democratic incumbent.

But when we asked Law, we had to repeat the question three times before he answered that he would like to see Yoder win the Nov. 8 election.

Nationally, voters have been disenchanted and out-right angered about the Republican party leadership’s opposition to Donald Trump’s nomination, the candidate who also handily defeated a crowded field in the Republican primaries for president.

Law should take note of this. If he is unable to create a bond within his party, then perhaps he should consider stepping down.

And if Yoder is unable to seek elected office in a professional and respectful manner that the office deserves, then perhaps she shouldn’t be running.

For far too long Mahoning Valley government has been guided by a one-party political system. This year the local Republican party was able to put forth candidates for many county-wide and state offices — a good attempt to add sorely needed balance to the local government system. But this type of conduct by both a candidate and party leadership does little to grow faith in the party or its reputation.