Bob yelling into a mic and the words Bob Bites Back

Should the Franklin County Democratic Party (FCDP) be endorsing in a primary? Jonathan Beard (55th Ward) said “No” at the January Franklin County Democratic Party Central Committee meeting and was backed by none other than the powerhouse former FCDP Chair Bill Anthony.

When a candidate is endorsed, their name appears on the Democratic Party sample ballot. These are mailed to all potential Democratic voters, handed out by the tens of thousands at polling places, and nearly always assure victory.

Beard believes the Party should not be endorsing in the open Ohio 25th House District and that the decision should be left up to the Franklin County voters.

There were eleven people seeking the Party seat for the 25th District. The FCDP machine endorsed Dontavius Jarrells. Jarrells won strong support from U.S. Representative Joyce Beatty. It is Beard’s contention that the Dems are forcing potential supporters away from the Party by allowing prominent elected Democratic officials to secure endorsements for their supporters or staffers.

Beard bluntly pointed out that the 25th District is 53 percent Black and that when he looked around the room, the Democratic Party regulars were overwhelmingly white. Beard said, “Black folks don’t need white folks to tell them who to vote for.”

Then, surprisingly, former FCDP Chair Anthony weighed in, agreeing with Beard. Even more shocking, Columbus School Board member James Ragland stood up and recounted how the FCDP regulars conspired to make Andy Ginther the mayor through the Party endorsement.

When interviewed by the Free Press, Beard made four key points: First, that the pre-primary endorsements divide the Democratic Party base and are a “sure-fire way to demobilize voters in the general election.” Second, the Party should reflect the will of the Democratic voters: “We owe the people our loyalty, they do not owe us theirs. We should support their Party preference.” Beard contends the best way to find the people’s preference is to let the people vote in the primary without Party endorsements.

Third, Beard argues that “The strange appointment of a majority African American City Council in Columbus” is designed to “appease Black folks” but really comes from a white-dominated elite that hand-picks the Black Council members. Fourth, Beard points to the fact that four Black FCDP members are now supporting an initiative that would create a true district-based system for choosing City Council members in Columbus.

A little rebellion in the Party is good for its soul and may mobilize and motivate its base.

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