Executive Central Committee Meeting, July 20, 2023

The Delaware County Democratic Party met at 7:00 p.m. on July 20, 2023 at Delaware Township Hall. Present in the meeting were 62 individuals, 50 of whom were members of the Executive Committee, constituting a quorum. Chair Watkins called the meeting to order at 7:08 p.m.

David Grimes led the committee in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Minutes from May Meeting

David Simmons moved to approve the minutes from the May 2023 Executive Committee meeting and was seconded by Emma Mirles-Jones. The motion passed unanimously.

Treasurer’s Report

Treasurer Saponaro informed the committee the Treasurer’s Report constituted the party’s finances through the end of June. She explained the state candidate fund stood at $125 and a button was added to our Donations page to allow donations to be funneled into the DCDP statewide candidate fund via ActBlue. She further explained that checks could be earmarked specifically for the fund.

Treasurer Saponaro explained the Vote No campaign was not put into the budget, though it was being tracked in the RAPID line to record donations and expenditures. She noted that, although the line appeared to show a 207% use of the budget, when factoring in the new Vote No donations, it actually stood at 49% for the year.

Treasurer Saponaro further noted the party had spent 23% of the annual budget.

Steve Schottle moved to approve the Treasurer’s Report and was seconded by Sam Kindred. The motion passed unanimously.

Special Guest from ODP – Andrew Vashchenko

Mr. Vashchenko greeted the committee and explained he was in attendance to discuss the Vote No campaign. He presented to the committee a video prepared by ODP.

Mr. Vashchenko informed the committee a Suffolk poll was released that day showing 57% of voters were against the proposed constitutional amendment, while only around 30% were in favor.

Mr. Vashchenko explained there was no coincidence the August ballot measure preceded the Reproductive Rights ballot measure to be voted on in November and urged the committee to not become complacent. He stated it was important for committee members to knock on doors, calling it the “gold standard” of campaigning.

For those who were unable to knock on doors, Mr. Vashchenko stated it would be helpful to make calls on Dialer, which uses a statewide call list. Mr. Vashchenko noted that volunteers had thus far knocked on 103,000 doors and made 280,000 phone calls. ODP Vice Chair Andre Washington suggested that presenting an argument against the August ballot measure in church would be a good way to inform an entire crowd at once of the importance of the election.

The accuracy of the Suffolk poll was called into question, as only 500 voters were contacted, and Mr. Vashchenko agreed the poll should be taken with a grain of salt and committee members needed to put in the work to ensure its accuracy.

It was inquired whether moderate voters were included in canvassing; Mr. Vashchenko stated the coalition was very broad, with other organizations focusing on moderate voters. It was noted that collecting signatures from all 88 counties in the state would make citizen led petitions nearly impossible to bring to the ballot. It was further noted that no other state requires signatures from all counties.

It was inquired whether the measure would go into effect immediately if passed, which was confirmed. Mr. Vashchenko thanked the committee for their work and encouraged members to reach out with any questions.

RAPID: Regions and Precincts in Development

Vice Chair Hanson explained that all regions were very busy in their Vote No campaign efforts, sending postcards and contacting voters.

It was noted the Big Walnut region had only one precinct left to contact. Vice Chair Hanson added that the Westerville-Genoa region was done canvassing and had received $650 in stamps for postcards. 

Vice Chair Hanson informed the committee the Buckeye Valley region sent out 600 postcards and distributed 174 yard signs. She further noted the City of Delaware region was finished canvassing, though there were still more signs to distribute. 

It was noted that turfs still remained in Columbus, Orange, and Berlin, as well as the Dublin, Liberty, and Powell regions.

It was stated that Guy Fisher had left the party so the Delaware region could use additional assistance, and that a candidate was needed for Delaware City Ward 1.

Report on Early Voting

Secretary McCaffery informed the committee that 7,259 voters were either sent ballots or voted in the Vote Center up to that point. He added that mail absentee and in-person absentee were roughly equal, and that Democratic totals were leading Republican totals, though not by much.

It was noted there was an error message on a tabulator at the Vote Center; Secretary McCaffery explained that, upon startup, the machine was programmed to not allow undervotes. He explained the Board of Elections does not force voters to choose Yes or No, and that machine was removed and replaced with one that would allow undervotes.

Candidate Support Committee

Chair Watkins introduced the candidates in attendance at the meeting: Cory Hoffman, Chandler White, Leslie Joyner, Steve Mount, Anthony Saadey, Doug Babcock, Heather Karr, Lizett Schreiber, David Grimes, Louise Douce, Louise Valentine, Tamie Wilson, and Steve Thomas.

Will Washington, Political Director for Friends of Sherrod Brown, noted that Delaware County is turning purple and that Sherrod Brown would need all the support he could get to defeat Frank LaRose in the upcoming year. He further explained that Sherrod Brown believes in dignity of work and that everyone deserves a decent wage and a fair life.

David Simmons informed the committee the Candidate Support Committee provides a questionnaire to potential candidates and reviews the submissions prior to an interview. He stated one candidate had been interviewed thus far, and the committee was putting together a list to get in touch with others. He added that links in the Candidate Notebook were not working, and Secretary McCaffery had volunteered to assist in fixing it.

Chair Watkins reminded the committee the deadline for candidates  to file for the November election is August 9 at 4:00 p.m.

Communications Committee

Don Swartwout informed the committee there were 174 donations via ActBlue in the last month, totaling $1,936 and that yard signs contributed to the influx of donations. He added that every non-recurring donation was committed toward the Vote No campaign and the committee had spent $2,100 on signs, $800 on postcards, $900 on stamps, and had acquired three banners.

Mr. Swartwout thanked Vice Chair Hanson for facilitating getting Facebook ads that targeted the Columbus/Polaris area, and added that Gavin Flesch was helping with Instagram posts.

Volunteers Needed

It was expressed that additional volunteers were needed for setup and tear down of the booth at Delaware’s First Friday and personable volunteers were needed to staff the tent. He added that the party has reserved two booths for the week of the Delaware County Fair and he will provide passes to all volunteers. Volunteers from the Dublin/Powell region were requested for the event. Chair Watkins encouraged committee members to get familiar with a few talking points in order to help at events.

Our Future: 2024 Races

Chair Watkins informed the committee candidates were needed for 2023, and candidates are also needed for countywide races in 2024. She added that a new countywide judicial seat would open up in 2026 and she has spoken with one individual to run for the seat.

Vice Chair and part-time Weather Girl Holly Hanson announced that a big storm would be arriving very soon, so Brian Jaffe moved to adjourn the meeting and was seconded by Secretary Saponaro. The motion passed unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

Corey McCaffery, Secretary