MEDINA — Now that city Councilman Bill Lamb, at-large, wants to be a Republican again, the county Democratic Party says it wants its money back.
“The Medina County Democratic Party is asking you to return the $4,500 that was given to you in August of 2010 for your campaign for county commissioner,” Democratic Party Chairman John Welker wrote in a March 22 letter to Lamb.
Lamb announced earlier this month that he had taken out paperwork from the Medina County Board of Elections to change his party affiliation.
Lamb dismissed Welker’s letter as political grandstanding.
“The letter speaks for itself,” he said Wednesday. “No, there is no money going back. When I ran for commissioner, I ran the smartest campaign that was ever run and I lost — that’s politics.
“People switch political parties — it happens.”
Lamb was a Republican when he became Medina mayor in 1982. He switched to the Democratic Party in 1985 and went on that fall to win a second four-year term.
All elected Medina municipal posts are nonpartisan and there’s no primary, but county elected offices are partisan.
When asked whether he had future political ambitions, Lamb declined to say.
Lamb said he still “shares most of the basic beliefs — in social justice and equal rights — that are central to the Democratic Party.”
But he said partisan politics at the local level gets in the way of accomplishing anything.
“I have a lot of close friends in both political parties,” he said. “I have always supported the person I consider the best candidate.”
In explaining his party switch, Lamb has said he became upset with local Democrats who spoke out against hydraulic fracturing at meetings of Council’s Special Legislation Committee.
In his letter, Welker criticized Lamb for that statement.
“You have labeled those who have taken opposite views to you as extreme,” he wrote. “These individuals were exercising their right to free speech in expressing their views.”
Contact reporter David Knox at (330) 721-4065 or firstname.lastname@example.org.