Saturday, April 03, 1999

Porter sets sights on prosecutor post

Assistant plans to seek No. 1 spot

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NEWPORT — Campbell County Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Jack Porter has begun putting together a political campaign to become the top felony prosecutor in the county.

        Mr. Porter, 47, a Fort Thomas Democrat, is planning to run next year for commonwealth attorney. He hopes to succeed 25-year incumbent Lou Ball, who is not seeking re-election next year.

        A former Campbell County and Covington police officer who received his law degree in 1987, Mr. Porter has worked as one of Mr. Ball's assistants for 10 years. He also spent a year in private practice and a year working as a prosecutor for former Campbell County Attorney Paul Twehues.

        Mr. Porter, who called working for Mr. Ball “a tremendous experience,” said he realizes private legal practice would be more lucrative.

        “But I thoroughly enjoy prosecuting. It's the part of the law I love and it's what I really want to do,” he said. “I could make more money in private practice, but most nights when I walk out of here I feel like I've helped the community and made a contribution to society.”

        Some Campbell County lawyers active in politics said they have heard that Fort Thomas lawyer Peter Coughlan was also interested in running.

        Mr. Coughlan, a Republican, would not comment when asked if he plans to run.

        But most lawyers contacted this week said they are not aware of anyone planning to run other than Mr. Porter.

        “I haven't heard of anybody else running,” said lawyer Kevin Quill of Fort Thomas, who until February worked in the commonwealth attorney's office with Mr. Porter.

        “Jack was a pleasure to work with. He did an excellent job and won a lot of cases,” Mr. Quill said. “He's a top-notch guy with a great reputation.”

        Campbell County Attorney Justin Verst of Cold Spring said he plans to help Mr. Porter on his campaign.

        “Jack is an excellent prosecutor,” said Mr. Verst, also a Democrat. “He has a good background from working in the office and from serving as a police officer. And he's also very aggressive and a real straight-shooter.”

        Mr. Verst said said it's important for the offices of commonwealth attorney and county attorney to have a good working relationship.

        “We have that with Lou Ball and I feel certain we'll have that with Jack,” he said.

        Mr. Porter said he has begun forming a campaign team, which he will announce later.

        Mr. Porter is married. He has two stepsons, ages 16 and 12, and a daughter, 6.


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