The Darke County T.E.A. Patriots met Tuesday night at the Lighthouse Christian Center for the purpose of endorsing candidates. This group was formed recently - and as many as 100 people were at the meeting. A number of people attended the meeting with the expectation of voting, but at some point it was announced that only those people who had attended a prior Tea Party meeting would be eligible to vote. As a result, only 43 ballots were cast. Many people were disappointed at not being able to vote.
Al Bliss is the leader of the group and apparently conducted the meeting. Various candidates gave presentations, either in person or through a representative.
Each candidate for county commissioner was present and spoke on his own behalf. In the race for State Auditor, candidate Dave Yost was represented by Lyn Bliss, who gave a speech which was critical of the opponent Seth Morgan. Morgan, who attended the meeting with his family, spoke on his own behalf.
Numerous other candidates (or their representatives) also spoke.
When it came time for the vote, it was announced at some point (or it became apparent) that Dori Howdieshell would tally the ballots - see press release below. Seth Morgan's local representative objected on the basis that Ms. Howdieshell was affiliated with the Yost campaign. This caused a verbal argument between the Morgan's representative and Mr. Bliss in which Mr. Bliss yelled out the f-word in the presence of Seth Morgan's young children. Although nobody could provide a direct quote, the context consistently referenced was that Mr. Bliss didn't "f****** care" what Morgan's representative thought.
Ms. Howdieshell proceeded with the tally of the votes in private, and unlike the press release below, several attendees commented on the vote taking "a long time," or as much as a half hour.
When the vote was announced, Bob Robinson narrowly defeated Mike Stegall - and the vote tally was announced. Thereafter, the vote tallies of the other races were not announced. Dave Yost won the endorsement for Auditor of State.
DarkeJournal has spoken to several attendees of the meeting who were unhappy with the voting process. Those attendees also reported speaking with other Tea Partiers (not interviewed) who had the same concerns. The upset attendees cited the friendship of Mr. Bliss, Mrs. Bliss, and Ms. Howdieshell, and their perceived support of the Yost and Robinson campaigns. Several spoke of quitting the current Tea Party or forming a new Tea Party.
It should be noted that Bob Robinson left the meeting early due to illness, and Yost didn't attend at all. Neither was involved in the voting, and none of the attendees were critical of them in any way.
[Info was received by 10 Tea Partiers via phone, email, or in person in compiling the report above. If you attended the meeting and have more to add, you can email confidentially to firstname.lastname@example.org.]