You know you’ve made it big in Republican politics when GOP strategist Karl Rove tweets condolences after your death.

Longtime Summit County GOP Chairman Alex Arshinkoff’s death on Monday drew comments on Twitter from Rove and a long list of prominent Ohio Republican politicians.

“Alex Arshinkoff was a giant in Ohio politics,” Rove said in his tweet.

Alex Arshinkoff was a giant in Ohio politics. My condolences go out to his wife Karen, his family and his many friends in @ohiogop.


— Karl Rove (@KarlRove) August 29, 2017


Gov. John Kasich, Reps. Jim Renacci and Dave Joyce, and Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger were among those sharing condolences.

“Alex Arshinkoff lived large and won much,” Ohio Auditor Dave Yost tweeted. “We will not see his like again.”

Closer to home, local Republican leaders scrambled Tuesday to figure out what steps were needed to replace Arshinkoff as chairman, a position he held for nearly 40 years, and on the Summit County Elections Board. They also met with Karen Arshinkoff, Alex’s wife, to help her figure out funeral arrangements. Services will be held 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Thomas Eastern Orthodox Church, with a private interment at Markille Cemetery in Hudson. Friends and family can pay their respects from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at Billow Fairlawn Chapel, 85 N. Miller Road.

Arshinkoff, 62, who was 23 when he took over as chairman in 1978, had been undergoing dialysis for several years. His health had deteriorated since he was in a car accident in September 2012.

The Summit County Republican Party must meet within 15 days of Arshinkoff’s death to choose a replacement to recommend to Secretary of State Jon Husted, who must confirm the appointment. Arshinkoff served on the board with Bryan Williams, who chairs the county GOP’s executive committee and has taken over much of the party’s day-to-day operations in recent years.

Arshinkoff’s sudden death didn’t only touch members of his own party. People from across the aisle, including those he had clashed with over the years, also offered their condolences.

“Alex was a formidable foe,” said Wayne Jones, the former Summit County Democratic Party chairman. “He will be extremely difficult to replace. He was a legend, one-of-a-kind.”

Bill Rich, the other Democrat on the elections board with Jones, said he was saddened by Arshinkoff’s death.

“There’s no denying his importance in the history of the Summit County Republican Party for decades,” Rich said.

Rich said Arshinkoff was a “vigorous protector of his party’s interest on the board.” He also said Arshinkoff loved telling stories, especially about the late Ray Bliss, Arshinkoff’s mentor and former national party chairman, whom he “spoke about with reverence.”

“Politics may have been Alex’s religion,” Rich said.

Rich recalled Arshinkoff’s distrust of technology in all forms. He said his final discussion with Arshinkoff during a board meeting centered on the board’s plans to begin using electronic poll books in the upcoming primary and general elections.

Arshinkoff, not surprisingly, had lots of questions and concerns.

“Don’t worry, Alex,” Rich recalled telling him. “It’s going to be fine. You’re going to love it!”

Arshinkoff’s response was a loud and hearty laugh.

Beacon Journal staff writer Doug Livingston contributed to this report. Stephanie Warsmith can be reached at 330-996-3705, swarsmith@thebeaconjournal.com, and on Twitter: @swarsmithabj.