Executive Central Committee Meeting, August 17, 2023

The Delaware County Democratic Party met at 7:00 p.m. on August 17, 2023 at Delaware Township Hall. Present in the meeting were 56 individuals, 42 of whom were members of Executive Committee, constituting a quorum. Chair Watkins called the meeting to order at 7:04 p.m.

Garrison Bowling led the committee in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Celebrate Deafeat of Issue One

Chair Watkins raised a toast to the defeat of Issue One and attendees congratulated each other for their hard work.

Minutes from July Meeting

Secretary McCaffery noted he mistakenly referred to Treasurer Saponaro as “Secretary Saponaro” in the previous meeting minutes.

Chandler White moved to approve the meeting minutes as corrected and was seconded by Steve Schottel. The motion passed unanimously.

Treasurer’s Report

Treasurer Saponaro reported the state of the committee’s finances, noting the report covered through the end of July.

She reported there was $48,900 currently in the committee’s accounts, with the state fund totaling $722. She added that the RAPID budget showed 439% spent, though it was inaccurate. She explained the line was used as a pass-through for spending on the Vote No campaign and ODP Reunion, and when removed, the budget actually stood at only 49%.

Treasurer Saponaro noted fees for the fair had increased, though it would be discussed later in the meeting.

Treasurer Saponaro informed the committee the previous month totaled $5,446 in donations, 82% of which were through ActBlue and 18% of which were checks. She added that 80% of the donations were one-time, while 20% were recurring.

It was inquired whether the party was investing its funds. Treasurer Saponaro explained that $9,000 was in the CD account, which would mature at the end of October.

It was questioned whether the committee had yet paid its $500 donation to Chris Wyche. Treasurer Saponaro explained the check was sent, though not yet cashed. 

It was inquired how much money was raised from selling yard signs. Don Swartwout reported roughly $4,800 was raised. It was inquired what the expenditure was for signs and postcards. Treasurer Saponaro explained $1,650 was spent in July, though signs were purchased in June as well. Chair Watkins explained the party saved money by purchasing signs through the state, and signs cost $2.75 each, with a suggested donation of $5.

Tamie Wilson moved to accept the Treasurer’s Report and was seconded by Joe Bjorkman. The motion passed unanimously.

Data Analysis of the August Election

Greg Bean DeFlumer shared with the committee a presentation of the numbers from the August election. He explained that only two counties saw 50% turnout—Geauga and Delaware. He explained the vote margins by county, noting “No” won by roughly 400,000 votes. He added that 68% of Ohio’s population lives in the 23 counties that voted No, proving that people vote, not land. He expressed the GOP is losing its stronghold on the state and Delaware County was trending purple. He encouraged members to keep their momentum going.

Mary Kate Pembroke presented a precinct-level analysis of Delaware County’s August 8 results. She explained that No won in every precinct of Orange Township and that, in the City of Delaware, only two precincts voted Yes—Delaware City 2-A and Delaware B. She noted that only one Dublin-Powell region precinct voted Yes. She stated these portions of the county were ready for change, while the Buckeye Valley and Big Walnut regions leaned more heavily Republican. She noted the greatest margin for No was in precinct Columbus City C, while the largest margin for Yes was in Marlboro Township.

Ms. Pembroke explained the data was pulled from the Number Key Canvass.

Chair Watkins informed the committee there were 1,200 provisional ballots for the Board of Elections to rule on.

It was noted that marijuana legalization would appear on the November ballot, though the state had not yet given it an issue number.

Message from ODP

André Washington thanked the committee on behalf of ODP. He added that the committee should be in campaign mode ahead of November and should not assume the reproductive rights issue will pass. 

Mr. Washington stated he wanted Joe Biden to win reelection, though the state needs Sherrod Brown to be reelected. He explained his belief that the Democratic Party would be victorious and encouraged committee members to step outside their comfort zone. 

Mr. Washington informed the committee he was in Butler County and began speaking to a stranger who expressed support for reproductive freedom and Critical Race Theory, but was a registered Republican. When he asked why the woman was registered as a Republican, she explained her parents and grandparents were. He encouraged the woman to vote her interests by analyzing which party aligns most with her political beliefs.

Mr. Washington, again, encouraged members to talk to others, especially those they normally would not.

Chair Watkins noted that Vice Chair Hanson was wearing her “Democrat” t-shirt and explained that doing so was a great conversation starter.

Nominations for Executive Committee

Suzanne Binau moved to nominate Ann Wennberg to Executive Committee and was seconded by Pat Meter. The motion passed unanimously and Chair Watkins led Ms. Wennberg in the oath.

RAPID: Regions and Precincts in Development

Vice Chair Hanson gave credit to the regional team leaders, data captains, and the team in charge of distributing signs for the Vote No campaign.

She stated Heather Karr needed to step away as team leader of the Dublin/Liberty/Powell region to focus on her campaign and requested assistance in distributing the workload left in Ms. Karr’s absence.

Vice Chair Hanson requested that regions hold meetings earlier in September to account for the Delaware County Fair.

Candidate Support Committee

Chair Watkins named the candidates running for office in 2023 and 2024 and thanked them for their attendance. She explained that candidates are required to fill out a questionnaire and go through an interview process before being endorsed by the party.

Steve Thomas addressed the committee, explaining he was one of three candidates vying for the Fourth Congressional District to unseat Jim Jordan. Mr. Thomas informed the committee he was a Delaware County resident with an undergraduate degree in Government and a Masters in Computer Science. He stated he formed an e-learning company that created 250 high-paying technical jobs and he was seeking office because Jim Jordan has done nothing with his time in office. 

Mr. Thomas noted his platform focused on protecting the rights of others, including women and the LGBTQ+ community. He further added that racial equality was not yet achieved in the United States, though he intended to work toward equality in the future. 

Mr. Thomas thanked the committee and encouraged attendees to visit his website for more information.

Volunteers Needed

Pat Meter thanked the volunteers who assisted at First Friday and encouraged others to help. He noted the team was working on a schedule for the Delaware County Fair and stated, because of increased fees, the committee was over budget.

Mr. Meter moved to increase the fair budget by $500 and was seconded by Tamie Wilson.

It was inquired why the committee was over budget. Chair Watkins explained that, not only did fees increase, but the party would have two booths, as well as upgraded materials.

Tony Yankus called the question and the motion passed unanimously.

Communications Committee

Don Swartwout thanked Greg Bean-DeFlumer for joining the Communications Committee and assisting with moderating the party’s Facebook page. 

Mr. Swartwout informed the committee the party received 50 new Facebook followers, 25 new Instagram followers, 174 new additions to the email list, and 23 new volunteers over the course of the Issue 1 campaign. The campaign included running ads on social media. He noted the ads received 64,000 impressions, with around 20,000 unique views. He further stated the ads received 2,000 engagements with the ad, including 532 likes and 92 comments. For comparison, he added, the party’s Twitter account, which does not allow political advertising, received only four new followers. Mr. Swartwout explained the ads, which totaled $1,500, targeted the Polaris area, which has the highest ratio of Democratic voters, but low engagement within the party. 

Mr. Swartwout explained he would like to follow a similar model in the general election, though the committee would need additional funds.

Mr. Swartwout moved to add $300 to the communications committee’s budget to run ads in the November election and was seconded by Emma Mirles-Jones.

It was questioned whether the committee had a goal or message to work toward. It was stated the August election was a test run for advertising and the ads should be targeted to early voters.

Tamie Wilson moved to amend the total spend to $3,000 and was seconded by Emma Mirles-Jones.

It was inquired whether the party was tracking data based on advertising. It was further argued that the August election was an outlier and may not reflect outcomes in the future.

Mr. Swartwout argued social media advertising was effective at targeting younger people who are hard to reach through other means.

It was inquired whether ODP would help with messaging. Chair Watkins explained ODP does assist with messaging, though the matter in question was that of the local party.

Mr. Swartwout proposed tabling the motion until the September meeting.

It was suggested the motion be amended to its original form, with $300 requested.

Joyce Bourgault called the question.

Don Swartwout moved to increase the communications budget by $300 and was seconded by Tamie Wilson. The motion passed unanimously.

Our Future

Chair Watkins stated the committee needed more candidates to run for countywide and state offices in 2024. She explained petitions were due December 20 and Central Committee forms would be available.

Chair Watkins reminded the committee Sherrod Brown would be coming to Bridgewater in Delaware County on October 6th. She encouraged attendees to follow the party’s social media for further updates.

Chair Watkins informed the committee a volunteer was still needed for Oktoberfest in Wyandotte County on September 30.

Finding no further business, Chandler White moved to adjourn the meeting and was seconded by James Sipek. The motion passed unanimously and the meeting ended at 8:20 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Corey McCaffery, Secretary