Friday, January 11, 2008

Elephant Wars: Coughlin's New Gambit

Ed Esposito reports that A2 may have inadvertently given Coughlin more ammo to use against him:

    I spoke with State Senator Kevin Coughlin, who called to ask me about a conversation with long-time county chairman Alex Arshinkoff. I reported last August on a Saturday morning call when I asked about some of the charges Coughlin and the New Summit Republicans leveled at the current GOP leadership. Of particular interest was Alex's comment on why he didn't field a candidate to challenge Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic, then-running against fellow Democrat Joe Finley with clear sailing ahead in the general election.

    I thought Alex's point was well-taken, that he didn't push a Republican challenge because Akron would benefit with Plusquellic in a position of influence with Columbus statehouse executive offices under Democrat control and a strong likelihood the White House would see a change in power as well. That bit of honesty may cost Arshinkoff, however.

    Coughlin wanted to let me know the report -- in addition to similar comments made to others -- could form a basis of a challenge to remove Arshinkoff from the county executive committee.

    Here's how it would work: the anti-Alex camp believes he violated the county party's by-laws, as filed with the Secretary of State's office, over language that calls for members to get the boot for supporting candidates who don't have the party's official stamp. That would certainly be Plusquellic, and in an ironic twist they say it's exactly the same strategy used by Alex years ago to have former Fairlawn Mayor Pete Kostoff removed (for supporting Wayne Jones' bid to unseat Republican incumbent Don Robart in the hotly-contested Cuyahoga Falls Mayor's race) from the GOP Executive Committee.
In an email correspondence with Ed last night, he said the Coughlin believes he can use this to remove A2 even if he doesn't have the votes. I doubt it. I'd have to do some research into nonprofit law, but I doubt it. I suspect that such a bylaws provision would empower the precinct chairs to remove someone with a special vote, but that it wouldn't empower an outside entity to affect the removal. In any event, removing Alex on this theory would inevitably result in a long, ugly court fight.

My comment on Ed's post was as follows. The deep irony in all this is that Alex's statement to you is most likely a lie. The record is replete with examples of Alex either doing things or threatening to do things objectively detrimental to the community because they benefit the party and by extension him. If he indeed left Plusquellec alone for the sake of Akron it may well have been the first time he put community ahead of party.

But in fact Alex more likely left Plusquellec alone because he didn't want to waste the resources on a hopeless race. Alex went after the Mayor with everything he had in '03 and got crushed. Early last year the Mayor looked similarly invulnerable. It was only after an ill-considered tax hike proposal that people got restless, and that probably wouldn't have been enough to overcome the kind of year Republicans had generally.

But Alex couldn't admit weakness, so he came up with this implausible excuse and the excuse could hang him.

Some trims and ends. Arshinsquellic's blog, which Elephant War watchers had been glossing "The Pink Site," is down. (Click here for the 404 message) The site was dedicated to resetting all the New Summit Repub talking points plus crassly accusing Alex of being gay. The best bet is that Team Coughlin figured out who the blogger is and let him know he was more a liablity than a help. I've helpfully copied the last few particularly crude posts from my reader in case any disputes arise as to whether the site existed in the first place.

Esposito and Eric Mansfield each reference a crude YouTube video that reprises the gossip about both Coughlin and Arshinkoff. The Arishinkoff piece is pretty much lifted directly out of the Scene article. The Coughlin bits have been flying around but no one has gone on the record.

Arshinsquellic (dude gets around) comments on YouTube that the Dem Party is behind it. Doubtful. The author is probably left of center, but the piece itself is badly done and fairly pointless. Plus the author mispelled Alex's name "Arshnikoff" in the tags (that's how it's pronounced for those of you unfamiliar) making it hard to find. It's not worth embedding, but it's here if you want to see what someone who is not particularly good with Adobe Premier can accomplish.


Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the update and hope that the Summit County Republicans, new, old, or somewhere in the middle, can unite at some point to effect change to the county machine. It would be better to hear how they might work toward this end someday.