By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer
As expected, Dee Talmage has gotten the nod from a Lucas County GOP committee to be the next party chairman, but a prominent party activist fears the job may be too big for the Ottawa Hills school board member.
Ms. Talmage, 58, won the unanimous support of about 20 search committee members in a voice vote last night at party headquarters downtown.
Until yesterday, Ms. Talmage had not committed to taking the position because of the level of her other community activities. But last night, she said she had decided, “If elected, I will serve.”
Search committee Chairman Jim Smythe said: “I think she has the greatest opportunity ever to unite this party.”
The Republican Party has faced significant internal dissent in the last year, as activist Paula Pennypacker has led a grass-roots campaign to topple current party Chairman James Brennan, 72.
Thanks in large part to her efforts, about two-thirds of the party’s incoming central committee hasn’t held a position in the party.
They were elected in a massive write-in campaign last month.
Ms. Pennypacker said Ms. Talmage was “the best of the candidates who were interviewed.” But she said she feared the nominee might have too many community obligations to do a good job.
Ms. Talmage is involved with a number of civic groups – her resume lists 16 – and is planning to be very involved in a school levy campaign in Ottawa Hills this fall.
“I hope she’s not biting off more than she can chew,” Ms. Pennypacker, a former Toledo mayoral candidate, said. “This is a big job.
“I envision it as being a full-time position,” she said.
In addition, she said she will encourage new central committee members to consider other options when they vote on the chairman’s post during the party’s organizational meeting, which is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Saturday at Church ill’s Supermarket on Monroe Street in Sylvania.
“I want them to know it is just a recommendation, and names can be brought forward at the meeting from the floor,” she said.
Ms. Pennypacker is moving from Toledo tomorrow to relocate her business to Arizona.
Last week, an interview subcommittee of the search committee gave Ms. Talmage the nod over Sylvania Township Trustee Dock Treece and Paul Hoag, GOP state central committee member. Party leaders said they believe Ms. Talmage can bring together the party’s warring factions.
“She seems to be able to unite all the different perspectives in the party,” said Jan Scotland, head of the subcommittee that interviewed candidates. “We need that now.”
He said Ms. Talmage would make party membership “more fun,” with party social events to be held throughout the year.