MOUNT VERNON — One of the races on the May primary ballot for Republicans will be for a seat on the Ohio Republican Central Committee. The race pits Rich Cochran of Mount Vernon against the incumbent, Jeff Wilkinson of Lexington.
“The committee is made up of one female and one male member from each of the 33 state senatorial districts,” Cochran said. “Ours is the 19th District. The committee serves a variety of functions and makes a lot of decisions at the state level.”
Cochran, who said he hopes to be able to serve the party and be a part of making those decisions, is running against five-term member Wilkinson.
“One of the main functions of the committee is we elect the party chairman and the leadership of the party and we consider endorsement,” Wilkinson said. “And then we have training sessions, recruitment and those kinds of things. That’s it in a nutshell. We do have several screening committees which I have not yet been a part of. We also put on candidate seminars and training. And individually we represent the counties in our district. We go to the various county meetings and try to keep the leadership up to date and informed on what’s going on in the state.”
Wilkinson said it also works both ways, with the local committee representatives relaying concerns on the local level to the state level.
“We listen to what people and the local leadership are telling us and let the state know,” he explained.
Wilkinson got involved because he felt he would have some input into what is happening in the party at the state level.
“I felt if I became a state central committeeman I might get the opportunity to bend the ears of some of the guys who are passing the laws,” he said, “and help make changes for local boards of elections. It’s an unpaid position, but I enjoy doing it.”