Good news! Ohio Democratic Party names new executive director

And the winner is .... Kyle McDermott, whom I, like undoubtedly some of you, know from Maryellen O'Shaughnessy's gallant, hard-fought race for secretary of state last year (and what a great SoS she would have been!) Unfortunately, she was tossed in the race with about eight months to build her name recognition statewide, since she'd never run outside Franklin County before. She outperformed a hometown candidate who was higher on the ticket in Cuyahoga County, likely due her own energy and her well-run campaign.

Currently, Kyle is working with AFSCME on the campaign to repeal SB 5 (NO on 2!!! NO on 2!!!!!!). He will start work with the ODP after the — hopefully successful — election.

And let's hope this signals a turned page for the ODP in terms of responsiveness to and respect for its entire base. Working with the O'Shaughnessy campaign, with its peculiar history, Kyle is surely aware of the issues some activists, particularly women, had with the party in the last election cycle. With races so close and ill winds blowing, we couldn't afford those issues. They blew in Governor Kasich, and he could very well blow down the state. We need to go into next year refreshed and ready to retake the Ohio House of Representatives, as well as re-elect Sherrod Brown and President Obama. I think we all look forward to working with Kyle and seeing some windows opened at the ODP to let in some fresh air.

Here's the official release from the ODP:

Ohio Democratic Party Names Kyle McDermott Executive Director

COLUMBUS – Today, the Ohio Democratic Party announced it has named Kyle McDermott as Executive Director. As Executive Director, McDermott will be responsible for devising, implementing and managing the execution of the Ohio Democratic Party, its overall election strategy and activities, and its plan for growth.

McDermott will assume the position following the November 8 election of this year, after fulfilling commitments to the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and the We Are Ohio campaign to defeat Issue 2.

“I am thrilled that Kyle will be leading our talented team at the Ohio Democratic Party,” said Chairman Chris Redfern. “In Kyle, I have found one of the most talented political professionals in the country, and he will help lead our efforts to elect Democrats up and down the ticket.”

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown added, “Kyle has a distinguished career fighting to strengthen our middle-class, create jobs, and protect Social Security and Medicare. He has the determination and expertise to lead the Ohio Democratic Party, and I look forward to working with him as we defeat Issue 2 and elect Democrats across the state in 2011 and 2012.”

Born into a family of steelworkers and teachers, McDermott was raised in Zoar, Ohio and graduated with a B.A. in political science from Baldwin-Wallace College. In 2006, McDermott served as the state director for the Ohio AFL-CIO statewide political program. As the national field director for United Steelworkers, McDermott played a crucial role during the historic 2008 election. More recently, McDermott worked as campaign manager for the Secretary of State’s race in 2010.

“I am thrilled to be leading the best state Party in the nation in what is shaping up to be the most important election in decades,” McDermott said. “Throughout the Buckeye State, I have witnessed the enthusiasm and engagement of Democratic activists, and I am eager to harness that energy into the 2012 campaign.”

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