Updated Thu, Mar 21, 2013 2:08 pm
A group of self-identified Ohio conservatives says it's parting ways with the state Republican party because of recent events including U.S. Sen. Rob Portman's policy shift in favor of same-sex marriage.
More than 80 signed an open letter sent Thursday, including former state legislators, tea party leaders and issue advocates.
They cite Republican Gov. John Kasich's support for Medicaid expansion under President Barack Obama's federal health care law and the 2004 misdemeanor conviction of the man in line to be the party's chairman, Matt Borges.
Portage County tea party director Tom Zawistowski said Ohio's Republican leadership is betraying the party platform and alienating fiscal and social conservatives as well as rank-and-file GOP voters.
Borges said he and the party have strongly supported both conservative candidates and principles.