Sitting at the Dem Party table

Matt Westerhold
Jul 7, 2012


Excerpt from Westerhold's Between the Lines column in the Sunday Register, July 8, 2012:

Power has a way of demanding recognition. 

“This table is reserved for Amy Grubbe,” the campaign worker said. I looked for reinforcements and eyeballed Erie County Prosecutor Kevin Baxter in line to get some ice cream. He did join me at the table, but at some point the Party worker declared: “I’ll go get Amy Grubbe.” 

Good, I thought. No, not good. Grubbe does not like the Register much, and she likes me even less. Within minutes she was standing behind me, over my shoulder, as I chatted with Baxter and state Rep. Dennis Murray Jr. She did not join the conversation.

Read the Between the Lines in print or go to the BTL blog for on-demand viewing of past segments of the area's only public affairs talk program. Buy the Sunday Register, complete with coupons and advertiser specials that can save you $200 or more at the grocery store and the Sandusky Mall.




Seems like you don't like each other!  Why not fire off a few questions since she was standing right there? Even if you got no response you could've printed the response you got.  Let that reporter in you takeover!  Why focus on the drama of who did or did not get a ticket?  Focus n that everyday, ordinary person that got to enjoy a once in a life time event!  The story in the print edition about the lady that also saw Truman was a good story!


 who's Amy Grubbe?


She is in charge of the Erie County Democratic Party.  She has been for several years now.


Was anyone surprised that the head of the local democratic party was not all that front and center when it came to introducing the president?  Orlando Pace was front and center the whole time.   He must have dropped a lot of money on the campaign. All the heavy campaign contributers where there in the front row. Didn't even invite the Ex-official Mayor of Sandusky to give out the key to the city since it was in the city of Sandusky. To shun any of the elected officials in Erie County no matter what party they were was a shame.  At least the invitation should have been extended to all the elected officials and for them to make the choice if they were going to attend and roll out the red carpet for the president. 


Where's the taxpayer's REFUND ? ?


From the chatter around town it sounds as if Amy and the rest of her group have soured some of locals on the Erie County Democratic Party. 

I left them a few years ago because of behavior like what happened downtown this week.  This week was the apex, once you force businesses to close, and block off half of downtown so you can have a private ice cream party in a public park, people start to question just how out of touch you are.  

 I started to question this after being on the inside, now the outsiders are wary.  This could have been an event used to show the local party shine, instead it was an insider fest with no chance for the average voter, or those that need to be swayed to be invited.  What good is a campaign stop if you cannot speak to the undecided? 

Failed leadership is the only words I can use to describe what happened this week.

The New World Czar

The reality is that the upper crust of the local Dems spend a good amount of time at Plum Brook CC, the Yacht Club, or on their private dock/beach.




they will find out come voting time locallly and county and state

shun the shunners

time to get rid of the arrogant bunch of hillbillies


Swamp Fox

Is any surprised that Matt Westerhold created another story about himself?  I always thought it was the media's job to report the news, not create it.

Matt Westerhold

Thanks for joining the reader comment section at, Swamp Fox, and thanks for the comment. This is an excerpt from a column on the editorial page. It's not a news story. 


As a former activist in the Democrat party of Erie Couty, I am fully convinced Amy made sure there were only 300 tickets.  She views herself as the Queenbee of the whole county ( I have seen her car parked in the elected officials spaces at the county building, though she isnt elected to ANYTHING). She is an elitist to her core.  Why let as many people in as possible to see the President when you can hand pick Baxter, Ferrel, Murray and all of your other political hacks.  Wouldnt it be nice if all citizens had a chance to shake hands and get a picture with President Obama instead of just Amy's friends?


I also left the ECDP after Amy called that church and threatend them with "calling columbus" about their tax status after Heather Love Carmen's campaign wanted to have fund raiser in their fellowship hall.  

I have never met such a bully in entire life.  She ran the party with threats and fear.   To me it is really sad if that is the way she wins elections.  Before I left I told her there was no reason to act like that.  It doesnt matter who the party chairperson is, we will probably win anyway in Erie.  Its simple math, more Democrats in the county!

real talk

 The number of tickets is set by the Secret Service. They go to people that have been cleared and normally to volunteers etc. 

Amy Grubbe needs to be replaced. The local party has been in a downward spiral since she has been in that position. She is not in the state/sountry most of the time. She is a flight attendant. There has been dozens if not hundreds of functions and meetings that she has not attended due to this. 

Hopefully there is an investigation into her and she is replaced soon. 

Swamp Fox

real talk, the number is not set by the Secret Service, the agent from Toledo was quoted that any presidential event is set by the president's staff or the re-election committee including the number of people allowed, anyone with close in personal contact with the president must submit to a background check.  The Secret Service then plans security with the cooperation of local law enforcement including perimeter size depending on the crowd..

the office cat

Precinct Committeemen/women make up the Central Committee who, with a set number of others who may be elected by the Central Committee make up the Executive Committee.

The precinct committeemen/women are elected to four-year terms by the registered party members in their precincts - thus YOUR source of power.

The Committees appoint the Party officers - in both parties.

Amy is removable.  Just talk to enough Precinct chairs (do you know who yours is?  get the list from the Board of Elections) to take action to remove her.  The meetings are open to the may attend, and if rcognzed by either chair, speak - but you cannot vote.

The director and assistant director of the Board of Elections are of opposite parties and rotate positions.

The actual Board of Elections - which certifies elections, etc. - consists of two from each party.  The Chair of the Board is of the opposite party as the Director.

The Board of Elections and the officer director/assistant do not have control of the parties, though sometimes the two directors may be member of their respective committees.

Go ye and act accordingly.

the office cat

Lessee...   and this comes from a progressive independent turned Democrat party official focusing now on representing the Democrats who elected me to be their Precinct Official....

One more note:  what I'm about to say applies to BOTH PARTIES, since both have forgotten about the voters and volunteers.  It's just I have more specific facts about  Dems in the surrounding area.

State Chair seeks $100/person to attend county 'meet the chair' events and counts the 'proceeds' as meeting part of the local party's 'assessment' to support the state party.

County chair Amy Grubbe allegedly misses party events because of her work.

Sandusky County chair misses party events because of family and coaching responsibilities.  Spent time last summer in Ireland and considered buying a house there but "couldn't quite afford 300,000 euros".

Seneca County chair offers raffle prize of 'week in France - airfare not included' - at his house there'.  He, though, may be at his house in Latvia. 

Sandusky County GOP chair's brother forced to resign from Sheriff's Department after participating in alleged sexual harassment of mentally ill female inmate.  Party uses state rep's former business office as election headquarters for 'unknown' rental agreement.

Ohio organizers for BOTH party presidential candidate are imported for Arizona, New Jersey, Massachusetts - and have no idea how Ohio operates.

Obviously Pres. Obama has much better 'sense of the people' as noted by 'unplanned' stops in Oak Harbor, Port Clinton, and other poins west and east.

A friend of mine and her amily have GREAT photos of the President at Kozy Korner and Bergman's.


Swamp Fox

My apology, Mr. Westerhold, so I stand corrected, the editorial focused on what table you choose to sit at?


Hats off to all our local police and sheriff departments, fire and rescue services, and the street and parks departments for working long, hard hours to keep the president and the public safe during the visit Thursday and making Sandusky shine in the spotlight.

Way to go !


This has been going on for years in the United States. What is so different now? Ever since I can remember certain people all ways got preferential treatment . Who are the people that fought in wars. It wasn't the elite people that protected your freedom. It was the middle class and poor. The area war veterans and "purple heart" recipents should have gotten front row seats, not Baxter or Murrary Jr. I am a Democrate and all ways will be but I wouldn't want to rub elbows with that class of three hundred.  

Erie Countian

What's the problem, Matt!? YOU got in there, didn't you?! As I commented in another article regarding this topic, it's all POLITICS. Ms. Grubbe was unfair. Why not just get over it and move on? Years from now, no one will care WHO was there, only that a sitting president visited Sandusky. It's a piece of our history.


Im Glad Matt Westerhold and the paper was there. It was the only way "normal" people could get cover since Amy blocked everyone but her friends from getting in. 


Now this is funny. The Dem Elite publicly ditch the sheeple and the sheeple are still wanting to "Brush it under the rug" to protect the very same people that screwed you. HA! That is comical.

The Big Dog's back

 You don't see any of the regular Dem posters on here complaining about it. Only superficial right wingers would think this is a big deal. After all, you right wingers are constantly excluded by your masters. 


Guess "Right wingers" Make a deal out of it because we have enough sense to feel offended by somthing like that. The sheep are used to it and think its normal enough to defend those who treat you like dirt. Like i sais Its comical.

The Big Dog's back

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained lengthy or off-topic excerpts from other websites. Discussion Guidelines


I personally could care less. I didnt like McCain and i dont care for Romney or Obama. Look at the legislation these idiots have tried to pass. I do not excuse McCain for being a idiot and thats the difference, You protect these fools like they ARE better than you for treating you like dirt. I dont. I do not appreciate any of these Elites who prey on voters so they can feed thier donors kickbacks. You obviously do. Therein lies the difference. Its comical.

car 54

    Obama met with city commissioner Brown prior to speaking.

Swamp Fox

little mut, were you invited, guess not Dick Celeste took care of that.

The New World Czar


Clark W

 Matt W...Interesting column. It's probably a lot more accurate than the SR's claim that the newspaper was responsible for bringing the president to Sansusky.

Did Andy O. get his interview with Obama? He's been wasting newspaper space whining about previous failed attempts. This was his golden chance. Did it happen? If not, what a big whiff, especially given the SR's "claim to fame" regarding Obama's visit.

Matt Westerhold

Thanks for your comment Clark W. Here's a link to a video from the gazebo in Washington Park produced by the Register staff back in March. This might offer you a keener perspective regarding your question. Reporter Andy Ouriel has not yet gotten an interview with President Obama, but it's still July with almost four more months left in this presidential campaign season. 


Great column today Matt!  It hit the nail on the head in regards to the way Amy runs the party. 


I think we need a photo of Ms. Grubbe.  There's such an uproar going on about what she did, shouldn't had done, and so on but I bet most people wouldn't know her if they tripped over her (I'm one of those people).


In my 69 years of life, I have NEVER seen such a lame and descript group of candidates and incumbents.

Sad commentary on our times. keep on kneedling the supposed "powers", and more power to Ya !


She has a great looking resume.  I hope she has success in her chairwoman position ( that correct?)


Julie R.

Amy Grubbe's special club is Tom Ferrell, Jr., Sam Artino, and Jo Dee Fantozz. Considering how Kevin Baxter had $200K in back taxes forgiven by Fantozz, he must be part of the special club, too. 

Would this be birds of a feather flock together and one hand washes the other?  



@ Mr. Westerhold:

And you're surprised that Ms. Grubbe dislikes you and the SR since you like to egg it on with your sophomoric playground antics?







Contango.....I think your interests are fair more personal than even Ms Grubbe.  Why not state them plainly and concisely.  You have several issues with the SR do you not?   Go ahead and ask him to do an interview and get them out in the open yourself rather than hit him from behind the screen name.  You certainly have enough of them. 

I, for one, would love to see you do so.  You have plenty to ask him about.  Please do an interview and ask Mr. Westerhold all that you wish to ask him.  I did not have the time to do so. 



Personal issues? I've defended the SR AND Mr. Westerhold on numerous ocassions. You obviously missed them and choose to focus only on the ones you dislike. 

With the print media dying in many medium and small communities, Sandusky should be thankful that the paper even exists.

I found Mr. Westerhold's Sun. commentary a childish journalistic exercise without merit - end of story.



@Contango.....this is the first I could get back.  Words sometimes speak volumes. Yours do and not always in the way you think. 

Mr. Westerhold's comments were anything but childish journalistic exercising, they were, in fact, shown to make a point, how childish the people were at the event.  Those saving that table for Ms Grubbe were being childish and irrational and Mr. Westerhold was giving them as good as he got.  It was not he who started that interlude, but they. 

Ms Grubbe did a GREAT disservice to President Obama and unfortunately HE will be the one taking the heat around her come November, not her.  That is a sad fact.  She blew it by acting so high handed and snooty.  That is something you cannot do to the average citizen and have it come out right. 

He isn't the "RICH PEOPLES" President, although Ms. Grubbe would love you to believe it.  He is THE President which means he is the President of the United States covering all people here.  Mrs. Grubbe should have known that and didn't.  The SR pointed it out very satirically and you didn't get it.  That's it.  


Now if I was at an event of that nature, and saw an empty table, I would sit in it too. But the first time somebody told me it was reserved for anybody, I would simply excuse myself, get up, and find another place to land. I would not whimper, and throw darts at anybody because of it either. And also, Kevin Baxter sitting with Matt Westerhold had to be a Kodak moment.

Julie R.

@ Contango:  I didn't think yesterday's commentary was childish. I thought it was a perfect example of how the majority of the clowns in Erie County treat people. Someday you just might be misfortunate enough to see it first-hand for yourself. Take for example the way Sam Artino treated the SR. When asked  how he obtained one of the 300 tickets, his response was: "Can you please submit that in writing?" before abruptly hanging up the phone. When called back and asked why he cut off the conversation, Artino became downright mean and even used the f-word. 

I can identify with that arrogant treatment. I once had some assistant Erie County prosecutor try to tell me that attorneys were above the law. When I asked what the number of that so-called law was, her professional response was to slam the phone down on me. When I called her back she became downright nasty. But that's nothing compared to some of the joke judges at your Erie County courthouse. They actually flaunt right in your face that they don't have to follow the law --- and believe me when I say the joke courts in Erie County don't, either.

The way I see it, when you live in a county where the courts have a total lack of respect for the average citizens, not to mention a total lack of respect for the law, then it stands to reason that the clowns that are a part of their "special club" --- like Grubbe, Tom Ferrell, Jr., and Jo Dee Fantozz --- are going to think they are all that and then some, too.   


I watched past chairman of the ECDP find candidates who would do a good job for the county.  Once Amy took over the party, and I do mean too over the party (she organized the overthrow of the former Chairman).  It became clear it was all about being in ithe club not about the county at all.  Funny that Bill Monaghan and Pat Shenigo were not part of the elite 300, though they are actually doing GOOD for the county.   Very sad.  Very sad indeed.


When you work save tax dollars (Shenigo and Monaghan) you dont get to come to the table.  When you oversee theft in office (Jo Dee Fantoz) and screw the taxpayers out of back taxes (Baxter) you get to be front and center. Doesn't this seem backwards?  WAKE UP MEMBER OF THE DEMOCRATIC CENTRAL COMMITTEE. 


 I read the article and I had to make a comment. I usually stay out of Politics and Religion, but this struck me.  I moved to Sandusky last year from a big City where corruption runs wild and officials do a long time in prison for their doings, I know this, because I am witness to it.

I have met, Shanigo, Monaghan and Grubbe at different Social events.  I have never talked Politics with any of them, just made nice and that's pretty much it.  I do consider myslef, however, I really good judge of character; and with that said, I don't  trust Grubbe as far as I can throw her.

I don't consider myself a Democrat or a Republican, I consider myself a Citizen of the United States wanting what is best for all of us living in this great Country; I have voted for both, Democratic and Republican Presidents in the past. I vote for the person who I feel can do the best possible job as the President.

I still don't know who I will vote for come November. I was hoping that having Shanigo and Monaghan and other influentials meet Obama would have given me a better understanding on his views and hopefully help me make a decision. Not only that, they are a big part of this city, they are Democratic Officials, who run this City, who know it best, who know what this City needs.  To me not having them there was very low and disrespectful. Even the biggest scumbags of the 'big Cities' get invited.  I truly don't understand the agenda on the part of Grubbe. 

I understand she had her parents there and other friends, and that is fine, but when you only have 300 tickets, you invite influential people first and then go down the line. To me, I feel she used it as a personal party and that is sad. Sad for the people of Erie County.

The point is: whether you live in New York City, Miami or Sandusky Ohio, there is always room for Corruption.

Blessings people of Erie County

Super Judge

 Amy is a liberal that means she is a stain on society and hates America. Who care what she thinks! Who care where she is? Who cares about this plus size taint?


Matt,  Do you know if any of the area judges were invited?  I know Judge McGookey is a democrat, was she or Judge Binnette or Judge Tone invited?


Im pretty sure Judge McGookeys husband thought about challenging Amy for party he is out.  No way would Binnette or Delamatre be invited, they are members of the GOP they are out.  Judge tone on the other hand is Amys lap dog so I suspect he was invited.


It is just a real shame every elected offcial in the county and city wasnt invited. It seemed like every town since police or firefighters to proctect the President and make sure the crowd was safe, but unless you were an Amy corny you were not welcomed


Super Judge,  I too am a liberal.  That certainly doesnt mean I hate America.  I love our county.  


Where is there a Dave Geise when you really need him?  The party went down hill when he left the party.

Super Judge

 Soon the Republicans will be in charge of the Whitehouse, Congres, and Senate. Then The Ultra Conservatives will take over from there! We Will appoint Ultra Consrvatives to the Suprem Court and then the laws will be all ours to write. We can pass any law win any election, we will make those freeloading liberals squirm for crumbs! WE ARE YOUR FUTUR, WE ARE THE CHOSEN PARTY, WE WILL NOT LET ANYONE STOP THIS!

Super Judge

 Wait a minute she is a flight attendant? Oh my this just gets better and better! Come on dems couldnt you find a better option than a flight attendant. Ringing bell, hey over here flying waitress get me another drink and a set of those headphones CHOP CHOP! 

Julie R.

That email Amy Grubbe sent to the SR just goes to show how full of herself she is. Doesn't she have enough common sense to know never to cross anybody that buys their ink by the barrel?


Quoted from an email:

"Dear Contango:

Frankly, it's not the newspaper's job to worry about whether or not it is 
liked by public officials. It's not my job to worry about that either. 

Perhaps you could help me understand the "playground antics" to which you 

Please feel free to write back or call me at 419-609-5866.

Thanks for commenting.

Matt Westerhold"


Mr. Westerhold:

Kindly keep it on the blog and transparent.

So when is the webcast interview with Ms. Grubbe scheduled so the synonymous acts of "power demanding recognition" can be seen by all?



Dave Geiss got a DUI every so often, but he was a nice guy.  He also appreicated what people did for the party. She treats memebers who dont agree with her like crap.


@ wiredmama222:

In every bureaucracy "nonsense" flows downhill. IMO, Ms. Grubbe was simply following orders from above.

IMO, in every confrontation, someone has to be the "adult in the room" and in this instance it wasn't Mr. Westerhold.

"Giving them as good as he got"?

Best to remember: An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.



Great point about Amy Grubbe doing a great disservice to the President and his campaign.  What do you hear people talking about.  "did you get a ticket to see the President?"  "No I couldnt, so I didnt go."  Rather than have an open event where people could feel good about getting a chance to meet the most power man on earth, Amy made it so only her friends had access and the heck with everyone else.  Its sad she ruined such an historic event for our town.  Shame on her.


Look at the top two most commented stories.  If Amy Grubbe would have just let all of the people in and not just her friends it would be totally different. 


And I thought the republicans were supposed to be the good old boys club! HA The democrats don't give a damn about the people here in Sandusky, they just want your money and your vote, after that you can sit on their middle fingers.