Top Ohio MAGA Ally in Senate Race Accused of Disloyalty to Trump In this Oct. 6, 2020, file photo, Jane Timken, then-Ohio Republican Party, speaks at the Hamilton County Board of Elections during early voting in Norwood, Ohio. (Aaron Doster/AP)
By Brian Freeman | Monday, 24 May 2021 11:13 AM
Jane Timken has a sterling record of MAGA support during her tenure as Ohio's Republican chair, but she may not get backing from former President Donald Trump in her bid for the GOP Senate nomination, Politico reported on Monday.
The reason is that, in her capacity as state party chair, Timken failed to immediately condemn Ohio Republican congressman Anthony Gonzalez for voting to impeach Trump in response to the U.S. Capitol riot, instead saying at the time that he had a "rational reason why he voted that way. I think he's an effective legislator, and he's a very good person."
Even though she called on Gonzalez to resign after she entered the Senate race in February and labeled both Trump impeachments a "sham," her opponents for the GOP nomination and two dozen conservative activists wrote an open letter over the weekend to the state Republican Party that called on primary voters to reject her.
"Timken is everything that President Trump stood against: politicians who say one thing and do another," the letter states. "Timken defended Anthony Gonzalez's vote to impeach President Trump, then called for his resignation the moment it became politically toxic for her to stand with Gonzalez."
The letter was sent as Timken critics have grown increasingly worried that Trump might endorse her, which would make her virtually unbeatable in the primary.
The former president's vital role in the primary was demonstrated two months ago when Timken and the other Republicans in the primary race — former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, technology company executive Bernie Moreno and investment banker Mike Gibbons — were made by Trump to sit at the same table and make their case for the Senate nomination in his presence at his Mar-a-Lago resort.
"On the merits, [Trump] should've endorsed her already," said Doug Preisse, a veteran Republican strategist in the state. "She was nothing but completely loyal and supportive of him, and she was doing her job as party chair. But that's not good enough. It's not about doing your job. It's about being loyal to him 100% all the time."
Preisse emphasized that "This is different from what Ronald Reagan said, which is that someone who is with you 80% of the time is not your enemy, they're your friend."
One Republican who is neutral in the Senate race and has talked about it with Trump said the letter "would seem effective in slowing down an endorsement" from the former president.
Timken's campaign has fired back at the other candidates, charging that they, in fact, were not loyal enough to Trump.
"While Jane fought tirelessly for the Trump agenda," said a Timken spokesperson, "other candidates are now trying to overcompensate because they either didn't vote for President Trump, publicly trashed President Trump and belittled his supporters, or were totally MIA with their head in the sand now trying to play pretend."
But Thea Shoemake, one of those who signed the open letter, slammed Timken by saying that Ohio Republicans "want someone consistent and who does not put their finger in the air to see which way the wind is blowing."