- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 21, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Paul Tipps, who presided over the Ohio Democratic Party during one of its most successful runs, died Tuesday, the party announced.

Tipps, 78, served as state Democratic chairman from 1975 to 1983, ending his run with the party in control of every statewide office: six of seven Ohio Supreme Court seats, both chambers of the state Legislature, a majority of Ohio’s U.S. House seats and both U.S. Senate seats.

One of the senators at that time was Tipps’ lifelong friend, former astronaut John Glenn, whom he called a patriot and national treasure. Tipps served on the board of advisers at the John Glenn School of Public Affairs at Ohio State University from its inception in 1999 until his death.

“His loss is a major one for us all,” Glenn said in a statement.

After leaving the party helm, Tipps joined with Republican Neil Clark in an unusual bipartisan lobbying alliance. Their influential firm, State Street Consultants, was a powerhouse of Statehouse policy crafting in the 1990s and 2000s before financial differences escalated into a mammoth legal battle that split Tipps and Clark in 2009.

The Cincinnati native was a 1960 graduate of the University of Dayton, a U.S. Army veteran and a businessman. His many political adventures included serving in a delegation representing President Jimmy Carter at the Mount Sinai celebration in Cairo in 1979, when lands captured by Israel were returned to Egypt.

Tipps got his political start in Dayton, working for Ohio politician C.J. McLin after graduating from college and completing his military service.

McLin’s daughter, Rhine, said Tipps “was family, plain and simple.”

“Paul understood people and he understood politics,” Rhine McLin, a former Ohio Senate minority leader, said in a statement. “You have to be able to know one to be effective with the other.”

Tipps credited mentors like C.J. McLin and powerful House Speaker Vern Riffe and the line-up of strong candidates he inherited for his success as party chair. Those candidates included Glenn, Richard Celeste, Sherrod Brown, Anthony Celebrezze and Mary Ellen Withrow. Withrow went on to become U.S. Treasurer in the Bill Clinton administration, and Brown is a current U.S. senator.

Outside of the lobbying firm, Tipps’ life in business included chairing the multibillion-dollar Federal Home Loan Bank, which caters to financial institutions. He also served on the boards of Union Savings Bank and Janus Hotel and Resorts and was president of Federal Property Management in Dayton.

Tipps is survived by four daughters, Tammara and Penny Tipps, Debora Batta and Polly Tipps-Kesig; a son, Tony; his fiancee, Elizabeth Grause; and her two daughters.

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