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Tea party activist loses bid to lead Ohio GOP

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Gov. John Kasich’s pick to chair the Ohio Republican Party has won the job over a more conservative challenger after navigating criticism about his past deeds.

The GOP State Central Committee voted 48-7 Friday to elect 40-year-old Matthew Borges over Portage County businessman and tea party leader Tom Zawistowski.

Zawistowski is a leading figure in a conservative backlash against party leadership. His camp raised questions about Borges’ suitability for the job given his expunged 2004 conviction for misdemeanor misuse of public office. Kasich called Borges a good man deserving a second chance.

Borges was also criticized by fellow Republicans for not making known to them tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid state and federal tax liens. Borges paid the bulk of the liens ahead of Friday’s election.