Thank You

9 mins read

Dear friends,

Many of you may have already heard the news of my decision to step down as party chairman at the end of the year, but I wanted to take this opportunity to share my thoughts with all of you and thank you for your support over the past six years.

Since the tough 2014 election, after which I was elected chair, Ohio Democrats have made progress on important fronts at the state level — re-electing U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, flipping three seats on the Ohio Supreme Court (first time since 1994) and netting several seats in the highly gerrymandered Ohio Statehouse for the first time in the decade.

In addition, the foundation of a strong party is building a strong and growing bench of public servants, starting at the local level, year in and year out — and we have worked diligently to serve that mission. Shortly into 2015, we rededicated the party to a bottom-up strategy we call the Main Street Initiative, providing training, guidance and support every year to candidates for local office from across the state. No other state party provides ongoing support at this scale, and the approach has secured unprecedented wins at the local level in cities, suburbs and rural areas.

For the first time in a generation, our Supreme Court victories and the successful passage of two redistricting reform measures also place us on the precipice of a system of more fair districts that our state and communities desperately need and deserve. Nothing matters more in the coming year.

We also made clear over the past five years that any gains we make must reflect the diversity of our party and our communities, and over the past five years, they have. Our Supreme Court wins marked the fifth and sixth time in our state’s history that Ohio has elected a Democratic woman statewide, and in Justice Melody Stewart’s victory, Ohio elected the first African-American Democratic candidate — woman or man — to statewide office. Women now make up the majority of our House caucus, the majority of our appellate judgeships (20 out of 35), and we have added historic levels of diversity and representation to local offices — in cities and suburbs alike — as well as courthouses.

Of course we have faced challenges, setbacks and disappointments in this era of Trump, and there is no sugarcoating that much work remains to address those challenges. But even those struggles made a difference. Even in the recent presidential race, our effort here in Ohio — where we battled Trump to the final days, forcing him to return again and again — contributed to the historic national victory that ensured Trump would be a one-term president. Ending the nightmare of Trump will go down as one the most important political moments of our lifetimes, and I will forever be proud of the role Ohio activists, staff, candidates and supporters played in the national team effort to save our democracy.

The party has a full plate in 2021, 2022 and beyond — fighting for local wins, for fair districts and to make statewide gains (including more Supreme Court seats) in 2022. I look forward to the ideas, energy and perspectives a new leader can bring, building on important foundations we have laid while taking needed new directions as well. While it is up to the executive committee to determine my replacement, I am committed to a process that allows a healthy and open discussion of that new direction. Then, for me, “finishing the job” means working hard to ensure a smooth and quick transition to my successor, because there is no time to waste as the ’21 and ’22 cycles begin.

I pledge to all of you that the process of selecting our next chair — which will be elected by our executive committee, the governing body of the Ohio Democratic Party — will be open, transparent and inclusive. We will hold an executive committee meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 15, via Zoom, which will be livestreamed on our Facebook page. In addition, we hope there will be additional public forums for potential chair candidates to discuss their plans and hear from all of you.

Thank you again for all of your hard work and support over the years,


David Pepper
Ohio Democratic Party


P.S. — If you would like to indicate your interest in running for chair, please email Liz Shirey at


Rep. Joyce Beatty Elected to Lead Congressional Black Caucus

This week Congresswoman Joyce Beatty was elected the 27th Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.


“It is the honor of a lifetime to be voted by my peers to lead the Congressional Black Caucus in the 117th Congress. Right now, our nation is facing three pandemics that have disproportionately impacted the lives of Black Americans: COVID-19, economic turmoil and social injustice,” Beatty said. “As Chair, I will work with the Biden Administration, House and Senate Leadership, as well as my congressional colleagues, to defeat the pandemic and ensure better days lie ahead for all of us. Moreover, I will use my voice to address enduring economic and health disparities and fight to break the chains of systemic racism that have held back the Black community for far too long.”


Portman Pushed Wait-and-See Approach to Coronavirus Crisis

The Ohio Democratic Party released the following statement from Chairman David Pepper in response to Sen. Rob Portman’s latest comments on stalled coronavirus relief legislation:

“As of May 15 — the day that the U.S. House passed the Heroes Act, a comprehensive coronavirus relief package — 1,581 Ohioans had died from COVID-19,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper. “At that time, Sen. Rob Portman pushed for a wait-and-see approach. While Rob has been waiting and seeing, more than 5,000 more Ohioans have passed away. But today — when he’s clearly worried about his re-election — Rob is saying, ‘I think we need to act now.’ It’s ludicrous.

“Republican obstructionism in the face of a deadly pandemic has made the coronavirus crisis worse, and Rob Portman has been part of the problem, attacking his Democratic colleagues for having the audacity to call for more funding for state and local governments and hospitals. The truth is this — throughout the coronavirus crisis, Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell and Rob Portman have prioritized the wealthy and big corporations over workers. Rob cares more about his donors than the people of Ohio who are losing their jobs and their lives because of his wait-and-see attitude.”



Photo courtesy Joyce Beatty Facebook page

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The people of Ohio deserve a government that supports their hard work and shares their hopes for the future. Our platform represents the Democratic vision for our State, embracing and implementing the dreams of Ohioans. We firmly defend these American beliefs, values, and traditions and are fighting hard every day to elect Democrats who have the experience and ideas to improve our state and who will hold Columbus accountable.

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