Wednesday, January 19, 2000

GOP challenger unqualified for Kenton court clerk's job

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — The Kenton circuit clerk will keep her job because her only challenger in the fall election flunked the necessary test.

        Mary Ann Woltenberg will run unopposed in November. Steve Kramer, the young Republican his party touted when they announced his candidacy in a press conference this summer, did not pass the test.

        “It's just like winning an election,” Ms. Woltenberg said Tuesday afternoon. “I'm just happy this is how it happened.”

        Several clerks who work for her also took the test. One, Gina Casey, passed it, making her the only possible challenger. But she said she took it only for future information and does not intend to run.

        Mr. Kramer said he thought he had done well on the test, taken Saturday. He declined to comment further until his results come in the mail from the state Administrative Office of the Courts.

        Bill Aylor, Kenton County clerk and a member of the board of elections, did get his copy of the results.

        “This makes the race moot because nobody else is qualified to run,” he said. “They should've had more than one person take the test, but they didn't.”

        That will likely change before the next race for circuit clerk or property valuation administrator, the two offices that require testing. Kenton County Republican Party Chairman Greg Shumate said a back-up plan might be good next time in case the main candidate does not pass.

        “He's a hard worker,” Mr. Shumate said of Mr. Kramer, to whom he has referred as the Boy Wonder. “He has a lot of political insight. He had all the markings of a good candidate.”

        Many of Ms. Woltenberg's supporters criticized Mr. Kramer and the Republicans for getting out front so early when they touted his candidacy in June. He promised to bring the office out of “the Stone Age.”

        Mr. Kramer is a law clerk for Kenton County Attorney Garry Edmondson and is a member of Villa Hills City Council.

        Ms. Woltenberg, appointed to the job in 1992, was elected in 1993 for a seven-year term. Her new term, beginning next January, will last six years.


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