Citing Trump-Putin Meeting, Local Ohio GOP Leader Resigns
By Andrew J. Tobias
A county Republican Party chairman from Southeast Ohio resigned on Monday, citing President Donald Trump's meeting earlier in the day with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Belmont County Republican Party Chairman Chris Gagin announced his resignation in a pair of Twitter messages. He'd held the job since April 2016.
I remain a proud conservative and Republican, but I resigned today as Belmont Co Ohio GOP Chairman. I did so as a matter of conscience, and my sense of duty.— Chris Gagin (@cgagin) July 16, 2018
The President is entitled to GOP party leaders, at all levels, fully committed to his views and agenda. Following today’s press conference with Pres. Putin, as well as certain policy differences, most especially on trade, I could no longer fulfill that duty. Thus, I resigned.— Chris Gagin (@cgagin) July 16, 2018
He did not immediately return messages seeking additional comment.
Gagin is a former staffer to ex-Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson who switched parties in 2013. He ran this year as a Belmont County commissioner, but lost in the Republican primary in May. In the 2017 fight for control of the Ohio Republican Party in the aftermath of Trump's electoral victory, Gagin was an ally of then-Ohio GOP Chairman Matt Borges, who lost to now-Chairman Jane Timken, for whom Trump personally lobbied. The leadership fight generally was seen as a proxy fight between Trump's and Ohio Gov. John Kasich's political teams.
Belmont County is among the historically Democratic counties in Ohio that have swung into Republican control in recent years. In November 2016, thanks in large part to Trump's popularity, Republicans took control of the Belmont County commission in what may have been the first time in history.
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