The day my phone lit up with many Republicans across the state of Ohio, I remember it well, who let me know that Matt Borges, as Chairman of the Republican Party, was openly harassing supporters of soon-to-be President Trump. In reaction to the Access Hollywood tape that Democrats thought would sink Trump in the October surprise of him talking about women in a sexually provocative way, the campaign looked to be over. Things were much more innocent then, on that October of 2016, during a Saturday of pleasant weather, the leaves were gently falling off the trees, and from what I was hearing, the split in the Republican Party was wide. Like Borges, the Governor Kasich people were not going to accept that Trump was the official nominee to run for President, and they were not working to help Trump win the state. They were trying to sabotage the Trump campaign so that Kasich would have another chance to run for President the next time around. Of course, nobody cared about the Access Hollywood tapes, just as they haven’t cared about the countless attacks since then to prevent a Beltway outsider and a billionaire with the means to fight these battles from entering public office, especially the White House. What we saw back then was just the beginning. We knew that people like Borges had to go, Kasich had to go, and so would many of the other RINOs who were standing with Democrats to keep what needed to be done to save our country from happening. In came Jane Timken to challenge Borges for the Republican chairman job, and she beat him. Jane then turned quickly to unite the Republican Party, which she did so quickly, making Ohio one of the most vital states in support of the new President. Trump went on to win against all odds to usher in a new age of politics that few saw possible on that October in 2016. On a Saturday where all looked to be lost just a few weeks before the election.
I have been thankful to Jane for the way she united the Republican Party under tenuous conditions. In just a few short years, people I had known as staunch Never Trumpers were suddenly VIP ticket holders at Trump campaign events, and they were enjoying themselves more than I had seen in years. Part of that, of course, was that Trump had been doing a good job. People saw through the media and political attacks. Trump quickly fulfilled his campaign promises and did what all sound executives do when they lead their organizations; he showed people what success looked like and made it easy for Republicans to unite behind him within the Republican Party. It wasn’t lost on people how John Kasich had similarly sold himself, but within a few years as Governor of Ohio, he showed he couldn’t live up to the media hostility, and he turned soft.
On the other hand, Trump had everything, including the kitchen sink, thrown at him, and he was still getting things done every day, and he never slowed down. He forced the opposition to unload every trick in the book for all of us to see, and he survived it all. But along the way, as the new Chairman of the Republican Party, Jane Timken brought together Ohio Republicans in a very skillful way that showed the rest of the nation what a strong GOP looked like. Considering the personalities involved, what Jane did was remarkable. I had wanted to tell her that at an appropriate time, which I finally did have recently, in a private setting as she was gearing up her run for the senate seat that Rob Portman is retiring from. I had seen her at events in Butler County a few times but did not get a chance to speak to her personally. But I did get to talk with her one-on-one and with a small group of intimates, and I had one specific question for her that concerned me regarding her platform as an America First candidate.
As a party leader, Jane had shown support for Anthony Gonzalez, who voted twice to impeach Trump. She supported his right to an opinion on the matter as the party leader, which is tricky when the MAGA movement wants to run people like Gonzalez out of the party because he voted against Trump. Jane has been and continues to sell herself as an America First candidate, so I needed to hear from her without a media filter what her decision-making process was on the Gonzalez issue, and she answered it to my satisfaction. I understand the difficulty for her, and I’m sure Trump understands as well. The way to solve the matter is to get rid of Gonzalez in the primary and replace him with another America First candidate, Max Miller, a member of Trump’s inner circle. One thing that came up during this private meeting with Jane was that being a fighter for freedom and America First is terrific. But at some point in time, you go from being the rebel to being the new establishment. And a lot of people struggle once they are the new leader because all their energy went into the fight of getting there. Once they are there, they often don’t know what to do. That’s the case for school boards, political parties, management takeovers, everything that humans involve themselves in. It’s one thing to campaign on ideas. It’s quite another to apply those ideas to real-life situations. Jane showed me that she could make that transition from freedom fighter to the establishment without losing herself along the way as she handled the Chair position of the Ohio Republican Party. And she understood what fights were worth fighting and which were not. Trump himself showed that he could make that transition too, as a disrupter to a great executive in the White House. It was only five years ago since that Matt Borges incident, but so much has changed, and Jane, in so many ways, had helped lead a lot of people through the fog of that time to a real opportunity to build a senate at the federal level that is America First.
There is still a long way to go in the primary race, and this process is crucial because we need to see what kind of shelf life these candidates for Portman’s senate seat have. But any concerns I had about Jane Timken were certainly alleviated by my meeting with her. I wasn’t the only one there; many very good people were at this meeting for the same reasons. As far as Jane Timken being able to take an American First platform to the Portman senate seat, building a team of Republicans that would function from that platform. I’ve seen Jane do it before, and she is hungry to do it again, only this time on a bigger stage. I think Jane would not only fight Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, the AOC socialists, the Bernie Sanders communists, but Jane would win as she has won before. The person I met was more intelligent and tougher than those characters. If Jane were to be in that senate seat, I could see clearly that Trump’s agenda would be implemented not just for show but for the longevity of the future in ways many today can’t imagine. I’m not ready to endorse anybody yet for that seat, but Jane certainly didn’t disappoint. I think she could win but that she might become a leader in the Senate quickly.