Originally published here: Sandusky Register, By Tom Jackson 

SANDUSKY — As election day approaches, a group of longtime GOP officials and activists are asking Republicans to desert Donald Trump and vote for Joe Biden instead.

Operation Grant is the Ohio version of national organizations such as The Lincoln Project and Republican Voters Against Trump, groups representing GOP voters who say they can’t support the GOP nominee this time.

Operation Grant member Roger Synenberg says his group is reaching out to Republican voters willing to say “I’ve seen enough” and vote for the Democrat this time, probably for the only time in their lives.

NEW HERE? A BIG OHIO "WELCOME!"

MORE ABOUT OPERATION GRANT:
DONATEABOUT

Another Operation Grant member, former Ohio House member Charles “Rocky” Saxbe, says he has noticed something interesting in his Bexley neighborhood, near Columbus: Yard signs from neighbors who support Biden but also support local Republican candidates.

“That tells me there are Republicans out there who are exhausted by the drama we put up with every day with Donald Trump,” Saxbe said.

Operation Grant has struggled to recruit really well-known GOP officials, and party officials dismiss the group and groups like it.

Ohio Republican Party spokesman Evan Machan didn’t return the Register’s call asking for comment but told the Toledo Blade, “No one cares about these former Republicans. Ohio stands firmly behind President Trump.”

The Register interviewed Synenberg and Saxbe.

Saxbe, 73, is a member of a longtime Republican family. His father, William Saxbe, was a U.S. attorney general in the Nixon and Ford administrations and also a U.S. senator from Ohio. He is a longtime Republican lawyer in the Columbus area.

“I’m not a Democrat. I have no intention of becoming a Democrat,” Saxbe said.

Saxbe contends Trump is “not really a Republican,” has no coherent policy and is responsible for the fact the Republican Party did not adopt a platform at its convention.

“We have abandoned any kind of fiscal responsibility in budgeting and tax reform,” Saxbe said.

Trump has abandoned the traditional U.S. foreign policy of working with allies and instead seems oddly close to dictators in countries such as North Korea and Russia, Saxbe said.

Synenberg, a prominent Cleveland defense attorney and former co-chairman of the Cuyahoga County Republican Party, says Trump has surrounded himself with people such as Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen, Roger Stone, Paul Manafort and Steve Bannon.

“These guys are all convicts or looking at serious charges,” Synenberg said.

The United States is in the seventh month of a pandemic and still does not have a plan for dealing with it, Synenberg said.

Synenberg made the news in 2019 in a matter involving an Erie County official.

Synenberg sent an anonymous letter to Huron’s city manager calling former Cuyahoga County auditor Cory Swaisgood a “snitch.”

Swaisgood, who left the position to become Huron’s finance director, is widely credited with helping to uncover Cuyahoga County’s latest scandal, including the indictment of the county’s corrupt former IT administrator, Emily McNeeley.

McNeeley returned to the news a few days ago when she pleaded guilty to charges of obstructing official business and dereliction of duty and agreed to testify against other county officials.

Synenberg eventually admitted sending the letter and apologized, withdrawing as McNeeley’s defense attorney.

Asked by the Register if he wanted to say anything about the matter, Synenberg said he has admitted making a mistake and apologized for the incident.

Saxbe argues that voters in the Sandusky area have a particular reason for voting against Trump.

Trump fought for years to wipe out funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and has ignored the effect of COVID-19 on the local tourism industry, Saxbe said.

“These are the kind of things that affect us directly in Ohio,” he said.

“That tells me there are Republicans out there who are exhausted by the drama we put up with every day with Donald Trump,” Saxbe said.

Operation Grant has struggled to recruit really well-known GOP officials, and party officials dismiss the group and groups like it.

Ohio Republican Party spokesman Evan Machan didn’t return the Register’s call asking for comment but told the Toledo Blade, “No one cares about these former Republicans. Ohio stands firmly behind President Trump.”

The Register interviewed Synenberg and Saxbe.

Saxbe, 73, is a member of a longtime Republican family. His father, William Saxbe, was a U.S. attorney general in the Nixon and Ford administrations and also a U.S. senator from Ohio. He is a longtime Republican lawyer in the Columbus area.

“I’m not a Democrat. I have no intention of becoming a Democrat,” Saxbe said.

Saxbe contends Trump is “not really a Republican,” has no coherent policy and is responsible for the fact the Republican Party did not adopt a platform at its convention.

“We have abandoned any kind of fiscal responsibility in budgeting and tax reform,” Saxbe said.

Trump has abandoned the traditional U.S. foreign policy of working with allies and instead seems oddly close to dictators in countries such as North Korea and Russia, Saxbe said.

Synenberg, a prominent Cleveland defense attorney and former co-chairman of the Cuyahoga County Republican Party, says Trump has surrounded himself with people such as Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen, Roger Stone, Paul Manafort and Steve Bannon.

“These guys are all convicts or looking at serious charges,” Synenberg said.

The United States is in the seventh month of a pandemic and still does not have a plan for dealing with it, Synenberg said.

Synenberg made the news in 2019 in a matter involving an Erie County official.

Synenberg sent an anonymous letter to Huron’s city manager calling former Cuyahoga County auditor Cory Swaisgood a “snitch.”

Swaisgood, who left the position to become Huron’s finance director, is widely credited with helping to uncover Cuyahoga County’s latest scandal, including the indictment of the county’s corrupt former IT administrator, Emily McNeeley.

McNeeley returned to the news a few days ago when she pleaded guilty to charges of obstructing official business and dereliction of duty and agreed to testify against other county officials.

Synenberg eventually admitted sending the letter and apologized, withdrawing as McNeeley’s defense attorney.

Asked by the Register if he wanted to say anything about the matter, Synenberg said he has admitted making a mistake and apologized for the incident.

Saxbe argues that voters in the Sandusky area have a particular reason for voting against Trump.

Trump fought for years to wipe out funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and has ignored the effect of COVID-19 on the local tourism industry, Saxbe said.

“These are the kind of things that affect us directly in Ohio,” he said.