Trump campaign cuts ties with Ohio GOP chairman weeks from election

Story highlights

  • Paduchik said Trump is "very disappointed in Matt's duplicity"
  • The rift could be dangerously damaging to Trump's chances of winning the presidency

(CNN)Donald Trump's campaign announced Saturday that it is cutting ties with the Republican Party chairman in the critical battleground state of Ohio less than a month before the election.

The campaign's Ohio state director, Bob Paduchik, slammed Ohio GOP chairman Matt Borges in a letter Saturday to the state party's central committee for wavering in his support for Trump in a series of recent interviews and announced that Borges "no longer has any affiliation with the Trump-Pence campaign."
    Paduchik said Trump is "very disappointed in Matt's duplicity."
    "Mr. Trump told me, 'This is why people have lost faith in the establishment and party leaders.' I have to agree with him. Too often some leaders of our party have been quick to bail on candidates and principles; it's why our nation is on the wrong track," Paduchik said.
    Borges told CNN on Saturday that he "won't let a staffer's ego get in the way of us doing all we can to win elections up and down the ballot this year."
    The rift could be dangerously damaging to Trump's chances of winning the presidency, as Ohio is the battleground state where the Republican nominee remains best positioned for victory, even as his poll numbers have dipped in a slew of other swing states.
    Borges responded to Paduchik's allegations in a letter to the Ohio GOP's central committee, saying he has helped the Trump campaign build a political organization in the state, working directly with Trump and the campaign's national political director, including by recommending Paduchik for the state director post.
    Borges also noted in the letter that "the majority" of the Trump campaign's Ohio staff are paid by the state party. He said the state GOP has worked in close coordination with the Trump campaign.
    Borges added that Paduchik never shared his concerns with him until his public letter earlier on Saturday.
    Paduchik also noted in his letter that the state Republican Party has been fronting some payroll costs and urged the committee to ensure that continues, should Borges seek to nix that agreement.
    Paduchik's letter came after Borges sat for a series of interviews following the release of a 2005 tape in which Trump brags about being able to grope women without their permission, and after women began publicly accusing Trump of sexually assaulting them this week.
    Borges said in those interviews that he was unsure whether he would vote for Trump and said that he had been urging the Republican nominee to also stop attacking fellow Republicans, as Trump has done this week in the wake of top Republicans defecting from his campaign.
    Paduchik accused Borges in his letter of having "routinely exaggerated his relationship" with Trump and accused the Ohio GOP chairman of "promoting himself" in a bid for the Republican National Committee chairmanship. Borges has not publicly declared an intention to seek the office.
    At least two state central committee members came to Borges' defense Saturday.
    "We are poised to win elections up and down the ballot for Republicans this year in Ohio, just like we did in 2014 under Chairman Borges' leadership," committee member Jo Ann Davidson said.
    Jim Simon, another committeeman, said the election cycle has been "difficult and challenging ... unlike any I've ever seen."
    "Matt has handled it perfectly," Simon said. "Drawing fire away from our candidates and officeholders is the chairman's job, which is something I'm sure Bob (Paduchik) doesn't understand."