The Lima News
For years the Allen County Republican Party threw its muscle behind a hand-picked candidate in the primary, thus eliciting criticism for discouraging contested races.
The party has been publicly quiet this year and that’s the way it should be. No one has been “anointed” to fill Matt Huffman’s seat when term limits force the popular politician to surrender his duties as the 4th District’s state representative.
Finding a candidate who can eventually bring Allen County the clout of Huffman should be the GOP’s goal. Fortunately, it has two legitimate candidates squaring off in the May 6 primary in Robert Cupp and Kurt Neeper. It will be a classic race between a highly thought of candidate with a resume full of experience against an energetic up-and-comer who promises to bring a new focus to the job.
On Friday, both Cupp and Neeper stood before 100 of their brethren at the Allen County Republican Luncheon to sell their candidacies with the election just two months away.
Cupp brought the resume: former Ohio Supreme Court justice; 16 years as a state senator, including the president pro tempore position; a county commissioner; prosecutor, and currently the chief legal counsel for state Auditor David Yost. Neeper cited his experience as a vice president for Superior Credit Union and former Lima city councilor.
Cupp scored points by connecting his experience to the needs of the job. “We live in some very difficult and challenging times and we need to bring all the know-how, experience and ability we can to solve many of these problems,” Cupp said.
Less impressive were his cries that Ohio needs more jobs. It’s not that we disagree; the need for job creation is a given. What we want to know is how he proposes making it happen
The outspoken Neeper was it his best when he stressed the benefits of new blood in the General Assembly.
“I think the first thing we have to do is we cannot continue to send the same people to Columbus and expect the same result,” he said. “In terms of plans, we need to examine legislation, examine regulation from a business mindset as something that will help all businesses across a diverse array of industries and services. I think I am the only one to bring that to this election.”
But Neeper, like Cupp, then began stating the obvious, saying Ohio needs “the best education for our future so that we can deliver the best work force for our employers.” Who doesn’t agree with such a statement? What voters would like to hear is what Neeper plans to do to make that happen.
In the next two months, we look forward to hearing specifics from both candidates.