Executive Central Committee Meeting, November 16, 2023

The Delaware County Democratic Party met on November 16, 2023 at Delaware Township Hall. Present in the meeting were 55 individuals, 48 of whom were members of Executive Committee, constituting a quorum. Chair Watkins called the meeting to order at 7:12 p.m.

John Schmarr led the committee in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Minutes from October Meeting

Chair Watkins asked for corrections to the October meeting minutes. Finding none, Tony Yankus moved to approve the October meeting minutes and was seconded by Bill Shelby. The motion passed unanimously.

Treasurer’s Report

Treasurer Saponaro presented to the committee copies of the Treasurer’s Report. She explained there was heavier spending in October, attributing the cost to nearly $10,000 in donations to candidates.

Treasurer Saponaro informed the committee there was $31,487.50 in the total budget, and with 83% of the year having passed, the committee had spent 88%. She noted the holiday party would be the final big expense for the year.

Upon review of the report, it was inquired why the committee was paying for automobile insurance. It was explained that we carry liability insurance coverage for events, and the name of the company we pay is “State Auto”.

Treasurer Saponaro presented the following information about online donations:

In the previous month, it was found 40% of ActBlue donations were recurring, while 60% were one-time donations. She noted that 45% of total donations came as a result of the Vote Yes campaign and 107 donations were processed electronically. Treasurer Saponaro explained the $9,000 CD with Fidelity Federal matured after 24 months and was reinvested with an additional $1,000 into a 6 month CD at a rate of 4.85%. Chair Watkins noted it would mature around the time the party would begin sending out scholarships.

Tamie Wilson moved to accept the Treasurer’s Report and was seconded by Emma Mirles Jones. The motion passed unanimously.

Sign Petitions

Chair Watkins informed the committee there were petitions to be signed after the meeting for Supreme Court candidates, Sherrod Brown, Tamie Wilson, and Jerrad Christian.

Secretary McCaffery informed the committee he had Central Committee petitions available and would wait after the meeting to collect any.

Candidate Support Committee

Joyce Bourgault thanked the candidates in attendance for running for office and informed the committee that, of the 16 candidates supported by the party, 9 were elected. She thanked the Candidate Support Committee team and supporters who assisted in distributing yard signs. She noted new supporters were found through RAPID and the region leaders. Ms. Bourgault presented a thank-you letter from Heather Karr and encouraged members to support the state candidate fund.

2024 Races

Chair Watkins explained that currently, all county office holders are Republicans. She noted some positions, such as coroner, were highly specialized and the party’s best shot would be to run for County Commissioner, though it would be nice to run a candidate for County Treasurer.

Chair Watkins explained lawyers were needed for future judicial seats, and candidates for House Districts 60 & 61 could benefit from the state fund.

Chair Watkins informed the committee campaign staff are also needed and training is available through LEAD Ohio. Louise Valentine explained LEAD training would begin in December, with applications presently open. She encouraged any potential candidates or staff to visit leadohio.org to apply for the course, constituting three remote and three in-person classes.

Chair Watkins thanked Ms. Valentine and congratulated her on being elected to the Board of Education at Westerville City Schools.

It was inquired whether any candidates were determined to run in Districts 60 & 61. Chair Watkins explained two candidates had expressed interest and there was momentum.

David Chappell inquired why the party does not solicit for donations more often via text and email. Chair Watkins explained there was a request for donations in every email newsletter sent, though the party would be more forthcoming in its request.

Treasurer Saponaro requested that anyone intending to donate to the state candidate fund do so either through the link online, or by writing their intention in the memo line of their check donations. She explained she could not split a single check between two different funds.

It was inquired how much was taken by ActBlue in service fees. It was explained ActBlue does not charge a service fee itself, but it passes through a credit card processing fee of 3.95%. ActBlue gets its operating revenue via “tips” when making a donation.

Chair Watkins informed the committee the event with Sherrod Brown had to be postponed, though the party still held a deposit at Bridgewater to allow for a meeting at a different date.

Communications Committee

Vice Chair Hanson informed the committee that ads were run on Facebook for 2-3 weeks. She explained $1,500 was spent on ads through Precision New Media, and the ads reached a total of 140,000 impressions, more than double the initial estimate. She noted over 800 individuals clicked through to the party website and that Youtube ads had an estimated 71% completion rate. Vice Chair Hanson explained web traffic was up three times the total in August, with most visitors navigating to the Endorsements page.

Chair Watkins reported that multiple 30 second ads were aired on local radio station WDLR, which reaches Delaware and Union Counties.

Upcoming Events

Chair Watkins noted the deadline to file to run in the March 2024 Primary Election was December 20 at 4:00 p.m. She encouraged anyone interested in running to put their name on the ballot, since it will not be possible to put forward a name at a later date unless we have a candidate through the primary. 

Chair Watkins informed the committee the Delaware Township Hall was reserved by the party on December 21, so that will be the date of our holiday party. She noted the event would be catered and a reminder email will go out soon. She encouraged committee members to attend and participate in a “White Elephant/Blue Donkey” gift exchange.

Chair Watkins informed the committee the caucuses for delegates in the 4th and 12th Congressional Districts would be held January 9, 2024. It was added the 4th Congressional District caucus would take place in Marion.

Chair Watkins explained the party would hold a reorganizational meeting after the March Primary Election, at which officers would be elected. 

Finding no further business, Cheryl Luce moved to adjourn the meeting at 7:58 and was seconded by Rayna Patton. The motion passed unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

Corey McCaffery, Secretary