Executive Central Committee Meeting, May 18, 2023
The Delaware County Democratic Party met at 7:00 p.m. on May 18, 2023 at Delaware Township Hall. Present in the meeting were 54 individuals, 45 of whom were members of the Executive Committee, constituting a quorum. Chair Watkins called the meeting to order at 7:08 p.m.
After establishing a quorum, the Pledge of Allegiance was led by David Yankovich.
Minutes from April Meeting
Chair Watkins asked for any corrections or changes to the April meeting minutes.
Finding none, Joe Diamond moved to approve the April meeting minutes and was seconded by Roo Dirrig. The motion passed unanimously.
John Schmarr informed the committee he would be delivering the Treasurer’s report in Treasurer Saponaro’s absence.
He explained the committee has $45,733 on hand, with $36,115 in the general checking account. He noted that expenditures were small, with the largest attributed to the website.
Tony Yankus moved to accept the Treasurer’s report and was seconded by Heather Karr. The motion passed unanimously.
Update on Signature Collection
Vice Chair Hanson informed the committee signatures were still being collected and urged anyone with petitions to get them turned in. She stated she had six blank petitions to pass out.
Vice Chair Hanson explained the Columbus, Berlin, and Orange Township region had 250 signatures and estimated the Dublin/Powell region had around 85.
Marya Kolman informed the committee the Genoa Township/Westerville region collected 93 signatures.
Louise Douce stated there were 40 signatures in the Kingston Township region.
Mike Kabler informed the committee the Big Walnut region collected 264 signatures.
Joyce Bourgault noted the Buckeye Valley region collected around 105 signatures, with at least three full petitions.
Julie Houston explained the Delaware City region had collected 383 signatures, with 57 petitions outstanding and 25 extra to circulate.
Vice Chair Hanson encouraged committee members to start turning in their petitions, as the committee deadline was June 6th.
Update on August Election
Chair Watkins informed the committee that canvassing for the Vote No campaign had begun. She stated there was an online meeting of the Ohio Democratic Party’s Executive Committee this evening to endorse the Vote No campaign for the August election.
Chair Watkins added that six people were designated as data captains for Delaware County to facilitate canvassing, with two canvases per week as a goal. Chair Watkins informed the committee yard signs will be ordered through the ODCCA and we will distribute them freely for a suggested donation. She encouraged members to carry voter registration forms while canvassing and to encourage absentee requests. Chair Watkins recommended members canvass in pairs for safety.
Chair Watkins stated the deadline for voter registration for the August Special Election was July 10th and the Vote Center would open the following day.
Chair Watkins stated there was a need for assistance in organizing the canvassing efforts. She noted that Vice Chair Hanson was covering the southern half of the county, while she was looking for additional support to cover the northern part. She explained that data captains will have access to VoteBuilder, a very useful tool for canvassing.
Chair Watkins informed the committee that Connie Lybarger and Mary Lea Bailey had recently passed away and encouraged members to sign the condolence cards circulating the room.
Candidate Support Committee
Linda Diamond informed the committee that Candidate Support was active and ongoing. She explained that candidates were being interviewed and filling out the necessary paperwork.
Mrs. Diamond informed the committee an interview was held with Chris Wyche, a candidate running unopposed for Columbus City Council. She explained she was very impressed by Mr. Wyche, who is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and a supporter of Delaware County.
Mrs. Diamond moved to donate $500 to Mr. Wyche for campaign yard signs.
The rationale for donating to an unopposed candidate was questioned. It was explained that doing so would be good for public relations and would assist in increasing party membership in the Columbus precincts (7 in Delaware County), which is the most heavily democratic area of the county.
Tony Yankus called for a point of order and asked for the motion on record.
Vice Chair Hanson moved to give $500 to Chris Wyche and was seconded by Joyce Bourgault.
It was explained that, though Mr. Wyche was running unopposed at the moment, there was still time for petitions to be submitted to run against him.
Chair Watkins explained the donation would be an investment in party growth in that area.
Mr. Wyche’s total budget was questioned and the committee was informed it stood at $57,000.
An inquiry was made regarding the number of Columbus precincts in Delaware County. It was explained that the City of Columbus, City of Westerville, and City of Dublin all cross into Delaware County.
A question was raised regarding how Mr. Wyche could help Delaware County. It was explained that the precincts Mr. Wyche would cover are the bluest, but also the least engaged. It was argued that having an ally on Columbus City Council would be very important for Delaware County.
Joe Diamond called the question.
Vice Chair Hanson’s motion was unanimously passed.
Louise Douce moved to further endorse Mr. Wyche and was seconded by Emma Mirles-Jones. The motion passed unanimously.
Chair Watkins informed the committee some candidates had already committed to running in future elections. She stated Tamie Wilson will be running for the Fourth Congressional District, James Sipek has already turned in his petition for Central Committee, Holly Hopkinson will run for Liberty Township Trustee, Heather Karr is up for reelection to Powell City Council, Louise Douce is running for Kingston Township Trustee, David Yankovic (from Muskingum County) is running for the Twelfth Congressional District, and Louise Valentine is running for Westerville City School Board.
Chair Watkins noted that Diya Rajan was in attendance and is a recipient of the Robert E. Parker scholarship from the committee.
Report on Friend Raising
Linda Diamond informed the committee more donations were coming in every time communication is sent out, though she would like to increase the percentage of Executive Committee members who donate. She encouraged individuals to donate monthly via ActBlue.
Report on Communications
Don Swartwout informed the committee he was receiving assistance in posting to Instagram. He reminded the committee that donations could easily be made through the QR codes posted at the meeting.
Chair Watkins explained there was controversy regarding whether the Democratic Party could have a tent at the Delaware Ohio Pride Festival, as Pride is a 501c3 organization and they were informed there could not be partisan political representation at the event. Chair Watkins expressed her disappointment, as the party intended to reserve space for two tents. She stated she would work with ODP lawyers to get to the bottom of the matter.
Chair Watkins reminded the committee the party would have a tent at Westerville’s Fourth Friday.
It was explained that, if the Democratic Party would like to have a booth at Sunbury’s Memorial Market Day, it would be good to have a second booth for collecting signatures, as the signature collection effort was nonpartisan. Volunteers were requested in shifts from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Heather Karr informed the committee she would be walking in the Powell Memorial Day parade and was taking volunteers. She noted there would be a barbecue at her home following the event.
Chair Watkins reminded the committee that Delaware First Friday was coming up, followed by a fundraiser for Chandler White, and the Juneteenth Festival will be held in Delaware on June 17.
Chair Watkins stated she was considering a different format for June and July’s meetings and would be in touch regarding plans.
Chair Watkins informed the committee the ODP Family Reunion would take place July 15, with videos and speakers, including Sherrod Brown. She stated the party will have discounted tickets available. It was noted that Senator Brown believes Delaware County will go blue to vote for him.
Chair Watkins noted that Sage Parker, another recipient of the Robert E. Parker scholarship, was present and had testified at the state house regarding the ban on sports participation by trans youth. Parker thanked the committee for their scholarship.
Finding no further business, Roo Dirrig moved to adjourn the meeting and was seconded by Rayna Patton. The motion passed unanimously.
Corey McCaffery, Secretary