LUCAS COUNTY, Ohio — Lucas County Republican Party Executive Chairman Mark Wagoner has announced he will be stepping down from his position effective Jan. 1.
Wagoner was elected as chairman by the central committee of the Republican party on June 9, 2018. In May of 2020, he was re-elected for a four year term.
In letters sent on Nov. 16 and 17 to Ohio's central committee chairman Chris Joseph, Wagoner cites upcoming commitments beginning Jan. 1, 2021 as the cause for his decision.
In addition, Executive Director Barb Orange will step down on Nov. 23.
"We (and I especially) owe a debt of gratitude for the hard work that Barb Orange has put in over the last few years as our Executive Director. To enable the next Chairman to select their own Executive Director, Barb will also be stepping down as Executive Director effective November 23rd," writes Wagoner.
Wagoner serves as an Elector in Ohio's Electoral College and will remain in that position to cast one of Ohio's 18 electoral votes for President Trump.
According to bylaws of the Lucas County Republican Party, Joseph will assume the role of Interim Executive Chair while retaining his position as Central Committee Chairman.
The search for Wagoner's replacement will begin with an appointed committee no later than Jan. 31 to consider a candidate.
The following is the full text of both letters sent by Mark Wagoner to the central committee chairman:
Some bittersweet, but (hopefully) unsurprising news. I attach the following letter to begin the transition to a new role within the Lucas County Republican Party. As I mention in the letter, I will continue to serve as Executive Chairman through December 31st of this year, and I will also serve as an Elector in Ohio’s Electoral College on December 12th to cast one of Ohio’s 18 electoral votes for President Trump. Effective January 1, 2021, the Bylaws of the Lucas County Republican Party provide that you will assume the role of Interim Executive Chair and remain as Central Committee Chairman. Given that you received near unanimous support in your election as Central Committee Chair in May of this year, I know the party has full confidence in your leadership. The mechanics of the transition are detailed in my attached letter.
This is an opportune time to transition, with the recent conclusion of the Presidential election cycle and the next Lucas County central committee elections more than 3 years away. After January 1, 2021, I plan to stay actively involved in the Lucas County Republican Party, but in a different capacity – perhaps as a Finance Chair should you want me to
I have notified Chairman Jane Timken of the Ohio Republican Party and other national and state party officials of the forthcoming transition. As local party officials, you are the first to know in Lucas County. I will be reaching out to numerous people over the next few weeks to ensure a smooth transition. I ask the you keep the letter confidential until the news is released to a broader audience.
Due to the hard work of so many, I’m able to transition with the party much better than I found it. And I pledge to provide the next Chairman a full running start for success – something I did not receive at the outset of my term. It’s been a long four years first fighting to win control of the party, then working to rebuild it from the ground up, and to now watching it poised for future success. Restoring a foundation is unglamorous – yet necessary – work. Visible growth and progress will soon follow.
We should be justifiably proud of our accomplishments. Lucas County played an important role in our statewide Republican success in 2018 and delivering Ohio for President Trump in 2020, and we have made strides in our municipal elections. We have also laid the foundation for future Republican success in the City of Toledo and Lucas County.
We (and I especially) owe a debt of gratitude for the hard work that Barb Orange has put in over the last few years as our Executive Director. To enable the next Chairman to select their own Executive Director, Barb will also be stepping down as Executive Director effective November 23rd. At that point in time, we will be largely closing our headquarters until it reopens (fully reenergized!) on January 2nd of next year to kickstart our 2021 municipal races.
Finally, I owe a major thanks to each member of the Lucas County Republican Party Central Committee for your support and friendship. This is not any one person’s party – but our collective party. None of this would have happened without you. The Lucas County Republican Party has a proud history dating back to Congressman James Ashley, the sponsor of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, to Chief Justice Morrison Waite of the U.S. Supreme Court, to numerous members of the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Cabinet, to our very own Donna Owens, the first woman mayor of Toledo. There are many more chapters left for the Lucas County Republican Party to write. I will be excited to read them.
And just as the Party has its next chapter to write, now so do I…
With warmest personal regards,
The full text of the attached letter, mentioned above, is as follows:
Dear Chairman Joseph,
As I have discussed with many Lucas County Republicans over the past six months, I write to confirm my intent to step down as Executive Chairman of the Lucas County Republican Party effective December 31, 2020. I have significant new commitments starting January 1, 2021 and, although I intend to remain involved with the Lucas County Republican Party, I believe it is important to have an Executive Chairman who can devote a majority of their time to handling the obligations of managing a major urban political party. At the request of many, I agreed to stay through this year to maintain stability during this recent Presidential re-election cycle, where we successfully delivered Ohio for President Trump.
The By-Laws of the Lucas County Republican Party provide that the Chairman of the Central Committee, Chris Joseph, will assume the role of Interim Executive Chair. A search committee to select a new Executive Chair needs to be appointed by you sometime before January 31, 2021 to conduct interviews and evaluate potential successors. Chris Joseph will remain as Interim Executive Committee Chair until that process is completed. The next elections for central committee members will be in March of 2024.
I leave as Executive Chairman with the Lucas County Republican Party much better than I found it. We have over $40,000 in our accounts, secured and furnished an outstanding headquarters, provided extensive training to precinct chairs, consolidated our information technology and websites, developed a strong social media presence with a Facebook account of over 3,850 followers and Twitter over 500 followers, reconstituted a functional Lucas County Board of Elections, developed a stable of new faces and candidates, and rebuilt relationships with our local Republican clubs. We have also re-established strong working relationships with the Ohio Republican Party and the Republican National Committee. I take particular pride that the Ohio Republican Party has recognized both the newly reconstituted Lucas County Young Republicans and the Lucas County Republican Women’s Club as statewide chapters of the year in 2018. Much of this is the result of the hard work of so many and — like any team -- these successes are a product of their collective effort, hardly mine alone.
I pledge to work with you and the committee to ensure a smooth and seamless transition. I offer a few suggestions during the selection process. The position of Executive Chairman is an unpaid, volunteer position that requires someone with a passion for selfless service, not someone who has an ulterior motive for personal gain. I hope the search committee will look for those traits in the next Executive Chairman.
I wish the Lucas County Republican Party success as we move forward.
Very truly yours,