The Cost of Sucking: Is Alex Arshinkoff’s Time Really Up?


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In August state Senator Kevin Coughlin (R-Cuyahoga Falls) launched a campaign to overthrow longtime Summit County GOP boss Alex Arshinkoff. Coughlin didn’t mention how Arshinkoff spouts anti-gay venom on his way to the nearest leather bar (which we’ve been more than happy to do). But he did accuse him of mishandling party funds and making deals that allowed Democrats to run for re-election unopposed. Arshinkoff is up for re-election in March, and Coughlin knows it won’t be easy upend 30 years of retaliation, graft and back-door dealing (sorry, we couldn’t resist). But Coughlin’s at least ready to go financial on his ass. According to internal reports, the party forks over $1,000 a month for Arshinkoff’s Cadillac Escalade. He’s a registered lobbyist, and plunders the till for regular trips to D.C. Last year, he ran up almost $7,000 in charges at a posh Akron restaurant, and expensed a $5,000 tab at a Portage County country club. Meanwhile, the Summit GOP has GOPoo’ed the last four elections – winning just six of 48 races, with a dozen wholly uncontested. “It’s not about the party,” says Coughlin. “It’s about him. This is a guy who has no problem maxing out the party credit card.” Arshinkoff’s 2007-08 budget seems to agree. Less than a third of the nearly $900,000 he’s asking donors to cough up will go to candidates. He projects “operating expenses” of $500,000, and wants another $100,000 to... repay a bank loan? Coughlin sent a survey to the party’s central committee members, and found overwhelming dissatisfaction with Arshinkoff. Come March, he promises to have a challenger for the Gay Godfather. Just don’t expect to see a face until the filing deadline in early January. “The minute we throw out a name, it just gives Alex somebody to beat up and demonize… If we fall short, we’re going to do it again. And we’re going to do it again. He’s going to have to deal with this every two years until he’s run out of leadership.” -- Jason Nedley


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