Executive Central Committee Meeting, October 19, 2023
The Delaware County Democratic Party met at 7:00 p.m. on October 19, 2023 at Delaware Township Hall. Present in the meeting were 50 individuals, 39 of whom were members of Executive Committee, constituting a quorum. Chair Watkins called the meeting to order at 7:06 p.m.
Steve Mount led the committee in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Minutes from August & September Meetings
Chair Watkins asked for any amendments to the meeting minutes from August and September. Finding none, Steve Schottel moved to approve the minutes and was seconded by James Sipek. The motion passed unanimously.
Treasurer Saponaro explained there was a great deal of activity in the Treasurer’s Report, owing to yard signs and donations related to Issue 1.
Treasurer Saponaro informed the committee the State Candidate Fund was nearing $1,000, with donations ramping up. She further explained the RAPID line was used for matters related to Issue 1 and would be sorted out in subsequent reports.
Treasurer Saponaro explained 75% of the year had passed, with only 56% of the budget spent. She added that the Candidate Support committee issued $2,300 in checks, though they were not yet cashed.
It was inquired where funds were spent and whether the funds went toward party maintenance. Treasurer Saponaro explained she had an expenditure report she could share, though she did not print copies for the entire committee.
It was inquired whether the party invested any of its money. Treasurer Saponaro explained the CD of $9,000 was expiring at the end of the month and funds were held in an interest bearing account at 4.5%. She stated she was hesitant to invest the party’s funds, though she was open to suggestions.
Chandler White moved to accept the Treasurer’s Report and was seconded by James Sipek. The motion passed with one nay vote.
Chair Watkins reminded the committee petitions were circulating to elect a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. She added that Ted Strickland was running as a delegate for President Biden and Vice President Harris and reminded the committee that circulators must attest that they witnessed all signatures collected on a petition.
Secretary McCaffery informed the committee he had Central Committee petitions available and they must be turned in to the Board of Elections by December 20, 2023. He stated he would be available to assist in filling out petitions for Central Committee and could collect them for remittal to the Board of Elections.
Joyce Bourgault informed the committee the Buckeye Valley region was working to support Mary Kate Pembroke for school board, as well as Louise Douce for Kingston Township Trustee. She stated the region was canvassing their community and had many great successes in door-to-door canvassing.
Pat Meter informed the committee the City of Delaware had turfs available for canvassing, as well as postcards to be written and mailed.
Chair Watkins explained Delaware County was in eighth place on the ODP canvassing leaderboard and a great deal of canvassing was occurring in the Westerville region, with crossover between the party and the Westerville Progressive Alliance.
Anthony Saadey informed the committee the Orange Township region was doing well under the leadership of Jenny Yoder and Holly Hanson. He stated he believed the region would finish canvassing within the week.
Brian Jaffe informed the committee he was pulling data and cutting turfs, though he needed volunteers to canvass them. He explained 9 turfs were completed with 208 doors knocked, though there were 768 doors remaining. Mr. Jaffe noted that canvassing for the state issues was easy and encouraged committee members to remind voters of new voter identification laws.
Chair Watkins explained many volunteers stepped forward to offer to drive voters to the polls, though it was equally important that volunteers assist in driving canvassers.
Candidate Support Committee
Mrs. Bourgault reminded the committee a vote was held in the previous meeting to allocate funding for candidates, all of whom were grateful for the support. She explained she was receiving requests from candidates who needed assistance in managing their finances. She stated a training would be held in February and the process was relatively simple.
Candidates in attendance introduced themselves and explained where to donate to their campaigns. Those in attendance included Chandler White, Heather Karr, Jen Aultman, Louise Valentine, Steve Mount, and Louise Douce.
Chair Watkins informed the committee of the passing of Delaware City Council Member Cory Hoffman’s son and a moment of silence was held.
Greg Bean-DeFlumer informed the committee he was representing Heather Rodenborg, who could not be in attendance at the meeting. He explained her campaign was going well, though she experienced vandalism against her property as a result of her candidacy. He encouraged those in attendance to view the online recording of the town hall held for Delaware City candidates.
Our Future: 2024 Races
Chair Watkins informed the committee candidates were needed for countywide races in 2024. She explained some candidates were vulnerable and Democrats should step forward to run against them, as the party can support local candidates, not federal or state.
Don Swartwout informed the committee online ads were set to begin the following week, with additional tracking in place to measure their success. He explained that donations for Issue 1 yard signs could be made on the party’s website and 66 donations were received in the first half of August, totaling $1,200.
Chair Watkins added that $12,000 was allocated to support candidates and those who received endorsements from the party could be found on the party website.
Chair Watkins thanked Roger Van Sickle for providing the committee a free space to meet, and Barb McBride for answering phone calls for the committee.
Chair Watkins informed the committee of the hours for early voting and directed members to the Board of Elections’s website for details.
Chair Watkins introduced Ross McDonald, the new Deputy Director for the Board of Elections. Mr. McDonald greeted the committee, explaining he grew up in Cardington and was a 2010 graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University. He praised the group for its organization and leadership and informed them the Vote Center was trending at about the same number as the August election, though mail absentee requests were higher.
It was noted that the party endorsed Issue 1, but had not taken a stance on Issue 2. The importance of attracting younger voters was raised and it was postulated that endorsing the issue may help energize young voters to become active in the party.
Chair Watkins explained the state party held no position on the issue, though some counties had taken a stance.
James Sipek moved to endorse Issue 2 and was seconded by Chandler White.
Discussion was held regarding the issue and its implications within the state and county. It was noted that telling voters to vote “yes” on both issues made for easy messaging and that the issue was as much about social justice as it was liberty. It was stated that tax revenue would be brought in because of marijuana legalization and those who had experience with the medical marijuana program found it to be cost-prohibitive in spite of it helping. It was further noted that law enforcement rarely prosecutes offenders of marijuana charges and that, though there were concerns about the health of marijuana users, supporting the issue was largely viewed as the right thing to do.
Chandler White called the question and moved to close discussion. The motion passed unanimously.
A vote was held on the motion to endorse Issue 2 and passed with one nay vote.
Finding no further business, Tony Yankus moved to adjourn the meeting and was seconded by James Sipek. The motion passed unanimously and the meeting adjourned at 8:14.
Corey McCaffery, Secretary