Ohio Democrats want a local black activist leader to resign from the state party executive committee after his organization decided to endorse incumbent Republican Sen. Rob Portman.

"I'm not here to challenge the right to endorse," Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Stuart Garson told Cleveland.com, but he noted that party rules bar a committee member from endorsing against a Democratic nominee.

Jeff Mixon leads Black Lives Matter in Cuyahoga County, and is the leader who endorsed Portman. He responded by accusing Garson of racism.

"Because of a deep disdain for the Republican Party, the African-American vote has long been taken for granted by the corrupt Cuyahoga County Democratic Party — a party whose legislation forms the foundation of STRUCTURAL RACISM in Cuyahoga County," Mixon wrote in an email.

If Mixon refuses to resign from the state party executive committee, the Ohio Democrats could kick him off the committee, at risk of extending a story that has already annoyed local Democrats and Black Lives Matter activists. Mixon's organization isn't affiliated with the national Black Lives Matter movement, and the local chapter, Black Lives Matter Cleveland, has spurned them.

"The Black Lives Matter Network that we represent is not connected with this organization," Latonya Goldsby told the Cleveland Scene in July.

Mixon maintains that his group has applied to be an official chapter, but not received that status, and he thinks his political moves could help the group's activism. "We may not be part of the national Black Lives Matter movement, but we are much more savvy," he told local press.