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Outgoing GOP leader served party well

After embarrassing dysfunction just a few years ago, the Trumbull County Republican Party has made great strides under the leadership of local party Chairman Kevin Wyndham.

But now, Wyndham, who successfully unified the Trumbull GOP after significant division, last week announced he would resign his role effective Feb. 1. Wyndham was elected to the chairmanship in February 2017, following splintering and polarization within the political group.

The party’s central committee will meet in coming weeks to select a new chairman, according to party bylaws. So far, no one has expressed interest in the position.

In announcing his resignation, Wyndham recalled the problems that had plagued the party, and noted he had been asked to run for the post back then “in an attempt to reunite the group,” Wyndham states in his resignation letter.

Under Wyndham’s leadership (with the popularity of candidates at the top of the ticket not to be discounted), the local Republican party made strides in defeating Trumbull County’s long-time one-party system that, until now, has kept Democrats in most or all countywide seats and other elected state seats.

This year, however, we now have seen GOP candidates gain success in political races like the 32nd Ohio Senate seat in which Sandra O’Brien, R-Knox, defeated longtime Democratic office holder Sean O’Brien; Republican Michael Loychik defeated Democratic incumbent Gil Blair for his statehouse seat; and Republican Niki Frenchko knocked off longtime Democratic incumbent Dan Polivka for his commissioner seat. Further adding to that blow to Democrats, Polivka also is chairman of the Trumbull County Democratic Party.

Wyndham said his party already has identified candidates for 2022, and under his tutelage, the party has grown its bank account.

Indeed, we would be remiss if we didn’t note some missteps involving Wyndham, particularly one involving an error on an election petition he circulated for independent candidate Dennis Malloy who was challenging Democratic incumbent commissioner Mauro Cantalamessa. A violation involving a double signature resulted in dozens of signatures on Malloy’s petition being disqualified and legal questions about Wyndham’s accompanying affidavit swearing he witnessed all the signatures.

Overall, though, we believe Wyndham’s efforts and intentions have been good for the party. That’s critical if we are to continue to make strides in developing and maintaining a two-party system. For too many years, Trumbull County has languished under a one-party system. That is unacceptable. Multiple parties are needed in order to challenge the status quo, invite lively debate and keep the bar high for elected officials serving their constituency.

As the local Republic Party again looks to go in a new direction, we urge potential dedicated members to step up, and we urge the party to select an aggressive leader with a unifying attitude.

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