Thursday, January 10, 2008

Elephant Wars -- The Latest Skirmishes

The battle between Alex Arshinkoff and State Sen. Kevin Coughlin over control of the Summit County Republican Party gets uglier (and consequently more entertaining) by the minute. Earlier today Arshinkoff ally and Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Don Robart took to the air on ANN to declare victory and declare Coughlin "nuttier than a fruitcake."

    Despite Coughlin's claims that he has enough petitions filed to boot Arshinkoff, Robart thinks his numbers are wrong, "Alex has the support. Kevin said he was going to file about 300, but he filed 170, it's hard work and I think he doesn't understand that. (Kevin's) never had a real job. You know, being in the Senate, that's not a job."

    Robart ended saying, "I just think Alex is going to win and as I've said all along, I think Kevin is nuttier than a fruitcake and he's just out for his own gain."
Then tonight the fight spilled over into the Board of Elections. Dem (and future county party chair) Wayne Jones accused Republican Bryan Williams of instructing Board employees to scrutinize the petitions for Coughlin's people more closely than normal. Alex didn't take it well and wackiness ensued [from the ABJ]:
    Wayne Jones, the board's Democratic chairman, called county GOP chief Alex Arshinkoff an "asshole" and "crazy" and slammed his hand down on the table.

    Arshinkoff, one of two Republican board members, accused Jones and his law firm of being behind the attempt to oust him as the Republican party chairman.

    "You've been behind this whole thing!" Arshinkoff shouted.

    "I could care less!" said Jones, the county Democratic party's finance chair.
It could be that Alex is really that paranoid, but that paranoia hasn't been manifest in his public persona before. Ruthless, conniving, self-dealing, nasty, brutish and fat. That's what we've seen of Alex before; not this sort of, well, fruitcake-like nuttiness. But it could be that Alex is accusing Wayne of being "behind it all" in part to deflect criticism that he is too cozy with Democrats.

In the meantime, some web notes. Past commenter Arshinsqullec has set up a blog that aims for a new low in political attack. The blog, Keep Summit County GOP Strong clumsily rips off the pro-Alex Keep Summit Republicans Strong. It's infrequently updated and less frequently substantive. Usually it's just anti-gay invective. Click through if you dare.

The pro-Alex blog has been quiet of late. The latest post from about a week ago flogs the same line about Pete Kostoff being Coughlin's pick for Finance Chair and that the firm Roetzel and Andress is behind it all in an effort to "capture" both parties that touched off tonights BOE fracas.

The most recent news on New Summit Republicans is last Friday's claim that Kevin has 314 votes, assuming all his candidates in contested elections win. By the way, ever notice how the NSD website contains no images of the current Republican President? It shows Lincoln, Reagan, T. Roosevelt, and H. W. Bush. They even have a picture of Gen. Sherman (don't let your Southern brothers hear about that), but no Shrub. In 2004 Coughlin acted as a local spokesman for Bush's reelection campaign. Now, nada.

Things will just get better from here. This is like watching the Steelers and Ravens play just before each appears on the Browns' schedule. Just sit back and root for them to beat the snot out of each other.

UPDATE: Redhorse's take. He tends to give more credibility to the theory about the Wayne Jones/Pete Kostoff/Roetzel and Andress Axis theory than I. He also breaks down the numbers for you. Bottom line, Coughlin winning would be a Hillary-in-NH level of political surprise at this point.


Jason Haas said...

Does that 314 supporters post really have a photo from 300 on it? Is that the image to project? Interesting.

Scott Piepho said...

Yeah, dying in a lost cause and vaguely homoerotic. An odd choice that.

Jason Haas said...

And the photo/movie is extraordinarily violent. The iamge I take away is that the party is clearly at war with itself, and enjoying it.

Not credibility per se re: the Roetzel connection, just that the appearance of collusion is easier for AA to make. Since he and Jones have a history of hostility, Jones becomes AA's de facto blame shield.

For my part, I believe Jones made his position clear when he said, "I couldn't care less".

Scott Piepho said...

Thanks for clarifying the R&A thing.

Personally I suspect Wayne does care, but in the opposite direction. If he has a secret rooting interest it is in keeping Alex around now that he's more a liability than an effective power broker -- a point you make in your post.

Anonymous said...

Many of the filers are related to Kostoff. Many of the petitions were circulated by Kostoff. Kostoff is partners with Jones. Coughlin is Kostoff's puppet. Coughlin is using the same tactics against Arshinkoff that he used against Hanna, Bevan, Schmidt, Warhatch, Nogalo.

The one beacon poster referring to Coughlin's "three strikes" is all true, you heard it here first.

The dude has committed some serious legal blunders.
As an aside, the infamous "pink site" is down.

Scott Piepho said...


You lose me when you say Coughlin is Kostoff's puppet. The whole reason you guys (I'm making a safe assumption about you here) are in this fight is that Coughlin will be no one's puppet. That's why he and Alex don't get along; it's why Coughlin seized a moment when Alex was weak to stage a putsch.

I suspect the reason you (again, assumption being made) and Alex's other allies are making the Roetzel and Andress argument is that a spooky, John Grisham style law firm gobbling up political power is a scarier proposition than Coughlin as de facto party boss. And maybe the only thing scarier than the current hammerlock Alex has on Republican politics in the county.

Anonymous said...

Pho, I'm telling you Kostoff is behind this, otherwise why would jones come to the defense of coughlin? good govt? Look at the petition circulators.... many are kostoff and his family.

look, you know this to be true, you know what coughlin is like. he is the only person that could UNITE people to support arshinkoff.

Scott Piepho said...

That Kostoff and Coughlin are allies I have no doubt. I disagree with your assessment that Coughlin is Kostoff's puppet because, yes, I know Coughlin. He's a lot of things, but he's nobody's puppet. If he was OK handing the strings over to someone he would have fallen in line with Arshinkoff.

And from the press reports Jones wasn't "defending" Coughlin he was telling Arshinkoff to step off because he was acting a ass.