Exclusive — Ohio’s Ralph King: Establishment Republicans are Trying to Take over Local GOP to Help Matt Dolan in Primary

CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 03: Republican U.S. Senate candidate Matt Dolan addresses the media af
Nic Antaya/Getty Images

Ralph King, the co-founder of Cleveland Tea Party Patriots, told Breitbart News Saturday that establishment Republicans with close ties to Democrats are trying to infiltrate the Republican Party of Cuyahoga County in order to help U.S. Senate candidate Matt Dolan early in the primary process and wrest control away from conservatives who have taken command in recent years.

King, who has been active in Cuyahoga County Republican politics since 2001, explained that the establishment Republicans are trying to infiltrate the local county party in an effort to help Dolan in the upcoming 2024 Senate race’s Republican primary after his failed attempt in 2022 when he came in third behind now-Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH) in the GOP primary.

“The activists and the conservatives, you know, we’ve been fighting for a long time,” King acknowledged. “We just stopped a lobbyist from taking over the Ohio Republican Party. There’s a huge fight between the lobbyists and the conservatives in the Ohio House over the Ohio speaker. And in Cuyahoga County, which I’ve been on for many, many years, you know, we continually fought against the liberals, the establishment, the donor class, and until recently, we finally got a good chair to put a stop to all that. And the liberals and the RINOs in the establishment, you know, they are pushing back. And at this moment, what they’re trying to do is they’re trying to hold illegal meetings … to try to get rid of a new chairman that we have that has given voice to the members and has stopped putting their finger on the scale, to tip it towards the establishment and they’re mad they no longer control the party.”

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

J.D. Vance, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Ohio, arrives onstage to speak after winning the Ohio Republican Senate primary election at an election night event at Duke Energy Convention Center on May 3, 2022, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Other candidates in the Republican Senate primary field include Josh Mandel, Mike Gibbons, Jane Timken, Matt Dolan, and Mark Pukita. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“Between [former] President [Donald] Trump coming out [in support] for J.D. Vance and us on the Cuyahoga County Republican Party, Matt Dolan tried to steal that endorsement,” King continued. “Cuyahoga County Republican Party is one of the largest GOP parties in the state of Ohio. Although we’re in the pit of the Democrat heart of Ohio, we do have the largest party. It is Matt Dolan’s home party. That’s the importance, so between President Trump and the Cuyahoga County Republican Party slapping Matt Dolan down in that last election — between the two — we ultimately killed his chances to win the primaries. That’s why Matt knows he needs control of the GOP in Cuyahoga County at this point. So what he did, he’s vowed revenge since that time.”

King ultimately said that the “illegal meeting” the establishment Republicans are trying to hold for the Cuyahoga County Republican Party is to remove the current chair, Lisa Stickan, halfway through her four-year term to put Lee Weingart in as chair to help Dolan be better placed in the 2024 Republican primary.

“So what [Dolan’s] done is we have a gentleman by the name of Lee Weingart,” King explained. “Lee Weingart is a lobbyist. Lee Weingart has a history of donating to [Rep.] Marcy Kaptur [(D-OH)], [Sen.] Sherrod Brown [(D-OH)], a long history of donating to [former Rep.] Tim Ryan [(D-OH)] — actually made $3,000 donations to Tim Ryan in 2021 and was actually campaigning for Tim Ryan in Iowa [during his failed presidential run] — which would be par for the course for Matt Dolan to team up with a guy and a lobbyist like Lee Weingart. Lee Weingart tried to hold an illegal meeting. He used Matt Dolan’s firm to give some outrageous legal opinion supporting this illegal meeting. And what people need to realize is there’s a key between Matt Dolan and Lee Weingart and the donations to the Democrats and supporting Democrats. Matt Dolan was originally a Democrat before he started calling himself a Republican. … We are in a fight for the life of the Cuyahoga County Republican Party against the establishment likes of Lee Weingart and Matt Dolan.”

When confronted by what King mentioned, Weingart did not deny that he had donated money to Democrats but claimed that he raised “much more” money for Republicans, saying it was up to ten times the amount he has donated to Democrats.

Then, when asked by Breitbart News about a potential lawsuit and being represented by the law firm Dolan is a name partner of, Weingart claimed that the law firm does not represent him but that he received a legal opinion from Thrasher, Densmore, and Dolan, leaving out the lawyers name who wrote the opinion. “Nothing to do with Matt Dolan at all. Nothing whatsoever. The lawyer who gave me the legal opinion I’ve known long before he joined that firm. So there’s nothing to do with Matt Dolan in this effort,” he insisted, even though the lawyer who drafted the opinion joined the firm in 1975, according to the firm’s website.

However, Weingart then said that the “effort” to get rid of the party chair started in November 2022, claiming that it was due to a “lack of leadership in the Republican Party, particularly the chairman Lisa Stickan.” He then claimed to be asked to “circulate a petition to call for a special meeting to consider the option of removing Lisa Stickan as chairman of the party,” which he claimed to have received and was supposed to happen this past weekend but did not because they did not have the quorum needed.

He eventually said to Breitbart News, “If there were an opening, I would run for chairman of the party. But this is not about me. This is about removing an ineffective chairman, Lisa Stickan, if she were successfully removed, I might run, I might not.”

After the conversation, he followed up by text message, stating:

In case you didn’t jot down the list of Lisa Stickan’s failures as Chair, here they are again:

  1. fundraising is down 65% since she became Chair.
  2. 60% of the Central Committee positions are unfilled, crippling grassroots efforts.
  3. We are down to 5 elected Republicans in state, county, and judicial office in Cuyahoga County.
  4. Lisa is pushing a secret plan to pay herself $120,000 this year, with another $560,000 for party staff — in an off election year.
  5. Lisa led a cabal who actively undercut JD Vance’s campaign by sending a damaging letter to President Trump imploring him not to endorse JD. Then she went on CNN to undercut him further.

This is why the Cuyahoga County Republican Party needs a new Chairman now.

Voters cast their ballots at the Lake County Board of Elections headquarters in Painesville, Ohio, on November 6, during early voting for the 2022 midterm elections. (Photo by DUSTIN FRANZ / AFP) (Photo by DUSTIN FRANZ/AFP via Getty Images)

Voters cast their ballots at the Lake County Board of Elections headquarters in Painesville, Ohio, on November 6, during early voting for the 2022 midterm elections. (Photo by DUSTIN FRANZ/AFP via Getty Images)

In response to Weingart receiving a legal opinion from the Dolan’s law firm, the firm retained as legal counsel to the Republican Party of Cuyahoga County responded to Weingart by acknowledging the petition he was circulating was “not in order, and is invalid” due to a variety of reasons, including:

(1) Weingart’s Notice is not in order, and is invalid, as it purports to schedule a meeting for a purpose not permitted under the Permanent Rules. Officers of the Central Committee, including the Chairman, serve a fixed term of four years “…and until their successors are elected and qualified in accordance with these Permanent Rules.” Perm. Rules, art. ii, § 1. As the Permanent Rules contain no applicable provision authorizing the removal of the Chairman before the expiration of the Chairman’s term, the only source of that authority may be found in Robert’s Rules. Robert’s Rules only permits the removal of an officer for cause, and after an investigation and trial. The “motion to vacate the Office of Central Committee Chairman” cannot therefore be used to remove an officer.

(2) Weingart’s Notice is out of order and invalid because four individual members of the Committee have no authority under the Permanent Rules to schedule a meeting of the Committee, including a meeting by petition. The Chairman has the authority to set the time, date, and location of meetings. Accordingly, no valid meeting of the RPCC is noticed for January 28, 2023. No business of the RPCC may be conducted at an improperly-called “meeting.” No actions taken at an invalidly called meeting of the RPCC are valid. All would be void ab initio.

(3) Weingart’s Memo has no bearing on the validity of Weingart’s Notice or the actions improperly referenced therein because the issuer of Weingart’s Memo did not consider the provisions of Robert’s Rules as required by Art. v, § 6, of the Permanent Rules.

The failure to have an “illegal meeting” led King to tell Breitbart News Saturday, “In Lee’s land of make-believe, where you could just create things to take over a party, right now they seem to be failing miserably. But we do have a regular meeting on the second, and they’re going to probably try some floor maneuvers there. And that’s going to be a very good meeting. But, you know, I got confidence in our good conservatives on the committee that we do want to rebuild the Cuyahoga County Republican Party in the right way. And we’re taking the steps to do that. Unfortunately, we have to fight the establishment and the RINOs here in Ohio, which we’ve been doing for a long time.”

“The first year, [Stickan] was pretty much hamstrung … because of the China virus. This last year, I’ve never seen as many things done for the grassroots here in Cuyahoga County,” King added. “The liberal and the establishment of the people that used to be in control of the party would donate to the Democrats and they would get away with it by saying, well, they donate to the Republican Party too. These guys are mad because our chairman, Lisa Stickan, refuses to put her finger on the scale and allow them to control the party. She’s actually given control back to the members, so that’s why they’re trying to go forward with this illegal meeting.”

Jacob Bliss is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at jbliss@breitbart.com or follow him on Twitter @JacobMBliss.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.