Butler County PAC endorses candidates for November election

By Ryan McSheffrey

The Butler County Progressive Political Action Committee (BCPPAC) endorsed three candidates for Oxford City Council and three candidates for the Talawanda Board of Education in this fall’s election, at its Tuesday meeting.

The PAC endorsed Jason Bracken, Bill Snavely and incumbent Glenn Ellerbe for city council, and Kathleen Knight Alowitz, Becky Howard and incumbent Chris Otto for the school board.

Additionally, BCPPAC endorsed current Oxford Mayor Kate Rousmaniere for Oxford Township trustee, and incumbent Shaunna Tafelski for Oxford Township fiscal officer. Both candidates are running in uncontested races.

Kathy Wyenandt, who is running in the March 2020 Democratic primary for state senate in Ohio District 4, which covers Oxford, also was endorsed.

BCPPAC is a political action committee that formed in 2009, mostly because the Butler County Democratic Party is based on the other side of the County in Hamilton, said Don Daiker, past president of the organization.

“The Butler County Progressive PAC is an independent group formed by workers in the Obama campaign from 2008,” Daiker said. “So, they formed this organization beginning in 2009, we are independent but we are progressive, therefore we are closely aligned with the Butler County Democrat Party.”

But Daiker said that BCPPAC is an independent organization, and reserves the right to endorse whomever it chooses.

“A couple of years ago, we endorsed a Republican who was running for Oxford Township trustee [in a nonpartisan race],” he said.

“Most of the time, but not all of the time, we endorse Democratic candidates who are progressive.”

The candidates were endorsed via voiced votes from the 45 BCPPAC members at Tuesday’s meeting. The five-member executive board of the BCPPAC, which includes Daiker, partnered with six at-large elected members to interview candidates before deciding whether or not to put them up for endorsement, he said.

All five candidates for the three open city council seats were interviewed, Daiker said. On the school board side, only three of seven candidates chose to be interviewed, and those were the three candidates for three open seats presented for endorsement.

Bill Snavely, former mayor and city councilor who is seeking to return to council, was proud of the endorsement.

“I would say I’m very happy to be endorsed by the Progressive PAC,” he said. “There’s a number of civic leaders that are part of that group, so it’s gratifying for them to see what I’m about and endorse my candidacy.”

Snavely said that the endorsement is significant.

“All the candidates that they endorsed two years ago were elected — I think they’re a group that’s well established in town, they do their homework, and they endorse people who are worthy of serving the city.”

The group collects money through fundraising and the $15 annual dues, and had about $3,000 in its coffers as of Tuesday, treasurer Mike Ball announced at the meeting.

A lot of money goes to the candidates the group endorses.

“We spend maybe 20% of our money on yard signs, and 80% we will contribute to the candidates that we’ve endorsed,” Daiker said. “We only give money to endorsed candidates.”