New Ohio GOP chief tours state

Earlier this month, Matt Borges took over as chairman of the Ohio Republican Party, replacing longtime party leader Bob Bennett.

Borges, who was elected chairman in late April, said he is traveling the state meeting as many people as possible.

“So far, the reception’s been wonderful,” Borges said. “It’s great to get around the state and meet folks. You get a lot of feedback some good, some concern, but that’s what I need to hear. I need to know what’s going on out there so I can more effectively managed our operation in Columbus. And be responsive to the people who are out there who know how to win campaigns in the local level.”

The Republican Party holds the majority in the Ohio Senate and House of Representatives and is the

party of Gov. John Kasich, but has lost in federal campaigns including the most recent presidential and Senate elections.

Borges said to win more elections on the federal level, the Republican Party needs to do a better job of selecting candidates and settling on its message.

“I think we’ve had a couple of very fine men, in John McCain and Mitt Romney, run the last two cycles who were taken under by campaigns that maybe weren’t the best run efforts we’ve ever seen,” he said. “We can’t let our campaigns fail our candidates.”

Borges said the party needs to focus on working with local organizations to maximize voter turnout in every county in the state.

“It’s going to take that kind of all-in effort,” he said. “That, quite frankly, is the kind of campaign that George W. Bush ran in 2004 in Ohio.”

According to exit polls, 55 percent of women in Ohio voted for President Barack Obama over Romney, and Obama won the votes of 63 percent of Ohioans younger than 30 years old. Obama also received 96 percent of African-American votes and 54 percent of Latino votes in Ohio.

Borges said when Obama spoke at Ohio State University’s commencement in May, about half of the approximately 8,000 graduates did not have a job lined up. He said probably about 80 percent of those new graduates voted for Obama.

“For young people right now, it’s extremely hard to find employment,” he said. “(Obama’s) policies are not helping young people find work.”

Borges said Republicans need to do a better job of appealing to young people.

“It’s worth it to support the Republicans for the long-term future of our economy of our state and our country,” he said. “Look no further than what they’re getting from the Democratic leadership in Washington to hopefully change a lot of minds.”

Borges said he also wants to focus on getting more minority voters to support “the party of Lincoln.”

He said Ohio Republicans elected the first African-American to a statewide office, the first African-American lieutenant governor in the state and the first major party African-American candidate for governor in the state.

“The Democrats in Ohio have never elected an African-American in a statewide office,” Borges said. “But yet we lose that vote more and more all the time. We have to do a better job of messaging and talking to folks about our history, our inclusiveness and again, the economic situation.”

He said the party will spend more time trying to get votes in more urban parts of the state. He said there were precincts in Cleveland where Republicans did not receive a single vote.

“If you want to be a part of this cause, my hand is extended to you because I believe at the end of the day our ideas are better, our candidates are better, our campaigns are better and we just need to do a better job of appealing to those voters.”