If you haven’t heard, the State Republican Party decided not to endorse me. The question to ask is, “Why not?” I am a lifelong registered Republican. I ran on the Republican platform. And, last summer, I helped my fellow Republicans win their races by spending many hours knocking on doors all over the state.
I agree with the tenets of the Republican platform. I am a pro-life leader, a certified NRA and CCW instructor, and I have taken courses on the U.S. Constitution from Hillsdale College. I advocate for limited and local government. And our family business creates jobs and employs over 400 Ohioans. Our business also filed suit over Obamacare, and we won! The overwhelming majority of Republicans voted to have me represent them.
It is true that I voted against the 3,400-page Republican budget bill. It was a tremendous increase in spending and it also increased the Medicaid expansion of Obamacare. But it’s also true that during the past 12 months, I voted with the Republican Party 90.5 percent of the time. Even so, the Republican Party made a conscious decision not to endorse me in the coming election.
Brittany Warner, spokeswoman for the GOP, explained in a Cincinnati newspaper article why I didn’t receive the endorsement, saying, Vitale “didn’t contribute money to the Ohio Republican Organizational Caucus (OHROC),” and stated that OHROC “is a recognized political organization of the Ohio Republican Party.”
This past summer, I told the House leadership team that my personal funds and the money contributed by faithful Vitale donors are designated to keep me in office. People donate to my campaign account because I represent their values. If I have an opponent, my donors expect me to use that money to get re-elected so that I can continue to represent them.
But I was also very clear with the House leadership team that if I have no opponent, I am ready and willing to knock on doors just like I did in the last election cycle, and I’m willing to donate excess funds directly to other Republican candidates.
Why directly? Because my campaign and those who contribute to it are not comfortable funneling the money that was given in support of my election to the OHROC. Why not? It’s because two or three party operatives decide how that money will be spent and who will or will not get it.
Those who willingly give of their hard-earned treasure want Republicans to maintain the majority in the House. However, those same donors know all too well that not all candidates with an R next to their name share our conservative values.
The bottom line is that my donors did not contribute to my campaign so that I could give $40,000 and more of their money to “a recognized political organization” that often funds the campaigns of less conservative candidates.
My values and votes are right in line with the Republican Party’s platform. Even so, some very influential people in my own party feel that I’m not the kind of Republican that they can endorse. Does that dissuade me from running for re-election? Absolutely not. Voters should decide who represents them.
The writer represents the 85th District in the Ohio House of Representatives.