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Wyndham resigns as GOP chair

Lordstown mayor picked by party for board of elections

WARREN — Trumbull County Republicans had a busy meeting Saturday, accepting the resignation of the party chairman and nominating a new person to sit on the Trumbull County Board of Elections.

Kevin Wyndham, who was selected party chairman in a 44-9 vote in February 2017, will leave the position Feb. 1.

The party’s central committee will meet within 20 days of the effective resignation date to select a new chairman, according to party bylaws.

Also, the party’s executive committee voted to recommend Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill to the Ohio Secretary of State for the expiring term Kathi Creed holds on the board of elections. Hill, Creed and Marleah Campbell, a former employee of the board, sought the party’s recommendation. Campbell came in second, Wyndham said. The secretary of state makes the final appointment.

Creed’s term began in March 2017 after Secretary Jon Husted selected Creed over Randy Law when the party failed to conduct a proper executive committee vote for the recommendation at a time when the party was split into factions. At the time, Husted said Creed had served in the position honorably in the prior term and said he sought to put an end to the pro-Law / anti-Law “dysfunction” in the party.

Hill will not be able to run for reelection, but will be able to serve out his term as mayor, if he is appointed to the board.

The position pays about $15,000 per year.

Shortly before Husted’s decision, Wyndham replaced Law as party chairman.

HELPED TO REUNITE

Wyndham said he never wanted the spotlight, but ran for the position to help reunite the party and turn the focus of the party toward fundraising and finding candidates.

“Four years ago, I was asked by a group of active members to assume the role of chairman for the county party after literally decades of disorganization, inadequate leadership, and insufficient participation by the party in local politics, marked by few viable candidates, even fewer successful campaigns, and a complete lack of credibility or respect by the general public, media, and even the state party. This condition was further deepened by the unrest and divisiveness of the local party present in 2017,” Wyndham states in his resignation letter.

Wyndham said he and other Republicans were tired of the county’s “one-party system” that only saw Democrats in elected positions of power. Wyndham said progress has been made on that front, with Ohio Sen. Sandra O’Brien, state Rep. Michael Loychik and county Commissioner Niki Frenchko knocking out well-established Democrats in November. The party also already has identified candidates for 2022, Wyndham said.

“Interest in running for offices from the general public is better than it has been in decades. We even had contested primaries for the first time in years in 2020,” he noted.

Wyndham said party membership grew during his tenure.

“As a result of our efforts, we have the most productive membership in years, people have come back to the party, and lifelong residents of the county that were never invested in the party now participate. The party is growing, and empty precinct seats are filled with deliberation and consideration at every meeting,” Wyndham states.

OTHER GOALS

Other goals were accomplished, too, he said.

“When I assumed office, we had literally $62 in the bank account, and books that were not even capable of being audited. We now have over $20,000 in the bank, several thousand dollars in the restricted account, have paid all our bills, and are in good standing with all our vendors. In addition, we have raised over $100,000 through 2018 and 2019 for Congressman Bill Johnson, raised over $50,000 for Christina Hagan, and raised over $10,000 for the headquarters. We were also able to provide more financial support for candidates than ever before, and thousands were raised and donated by members to local and state candidates,” he states.

Under his tenure, the party secured headquarters on state Route 46 near the Eastwood Mall, giving party members a place to gather, train and distribute signs.

Wyndham said he intends to remain active in the party, may help with election campaigns and will stay involved in the party’s bylaws committee.

“I never aspired to this position; I have no political aspirations. My only agenda has been to help make it as good as I could while I am here and leave it better than when I arrived,” Wyndham stated. “My father always said ‘leadership should not become entrenched or the body becomes entrenched,’ and I stand by that axiom today. We are at a critical junction and must keep moving forward – we must not become complacent; we must not be idle; we must not become entrenched.”

So far, no one has expressed interest in running for the chairmanship, he said.

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