CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - If the Republicans have a prayer of taking the White House this fall, they must forge a unified front.
That was a repeated theme as the Party Central Committee met in Columbus Friday and was sworn in by Lt. Governor Mary Taylor. Many of the people here will make up the delegates who will nominate the GOP standard bearer, and right now their choice is clear according to Taylor.
"I'm assuming our role will be to get as many delegates in as many states to vote for John Kasich after that first ballot," Taylor said.
"Hopefully we can come out of this convention unified," former Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery said.
With the Ohio delegates all bound to John Kasich at the convention, you might think the gathering would be a ho-hum affair. Some of it was, and some of it wasn't.
One committee member protested loudly to Ohio GOP Chairman Matt Borges, charging "Mr. Chairman, I will fight against the lies that you've put out against me in a concerted effort to remove me from this committee, and I prevailed."
"Family fights are the nastiest fights, are the worst and the ugliest, but they're over and I very much look forward to moving on," Borges countered.
"If we don't clean our own house, the Democrats will," another delegate said.
Donald Trump wasn't named specifically, but there was concern that he is contributing to a fractured party that must heal. A Youngstown committeewoman is not a fan of Trump's, but conceded "we can beat Hillary Clinton and we can take back the White House whether we like him or not. He's better than her."
There was no escaping one theme here: the energy and the optimism as the days count down to Cleveland.
"Ohio is always sitting in the center right in front of the podium because of our prominence when it gets to the nominating and to the deciding in November," Cuyahoga County GOP Chairman Rob Frost observed.
The gavel will fall on the convention at The Q in just 80 days.
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