Sunday, May 21, 2000

Four vie for mayor

Covington cuts field to two on Tuesday

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — When state law prohibited Denny Bowman from seeking a fourth consecutive term as Covington mayor, it sparked one of the more hotly contested races in decades.

        Four candidates are vying for the part-time, nonpartisan job of mayor of Covington, the largest city in Northern Kentucky. The job pays $22,681 annually over its four-year term.

        Those in the running are:

        • Jim Eggemeier, 45, who has served as interim mayor for three months because Mr. Bowman resigned to become Covington's recreation director. Mr. Eggemeier has been on the City Commission for 16 years.

        • Butch Callery, 59, who has served 21 years on the City Commission, longer than anyone in Covington's history.

        • Bernie Moorman, 62, who has 25 years of political experience, first as a Covington commissioner and mayor and more recently as a Kenton County commissioner.

        • Ray “Radar” Murphy, 49, who made an unsuccessful run for sheriff in 1998. The former Covington police sergeant retired in 1998, after 23 years with the depart ment, and now works as a Kenton County deputy sheriff. He was not held elective office.

        Two of the four contenders will survive Tuesday's primary vote to compete in the Nov. 7 general election.

        Covington city government does not allow for a strong mayor, “but whoever holds that office has a certain public visibility, so I think it's important, symbolically, who the mayor is,” said Chuck Eilerman, a commercial Realtor and president of Friends of Covington.

        “I think (the mayor) sets a tone for how the outside community, to some degree,

        views Covington.”

        The mayor holds one of five seats on the City Commission and can vote on any issue, but the city manager runs the day-to-day operations of the city.

        “Regardless of who's elected mayor, neither Jim (Eggemeier) nor Butch (Callery) will be a commissioner,” Mr. Eilerman said. “We'll have at least two new commissioners.”

        The race has so far been the most expensive for Mr. Moorman and Mr. Murphy, according to election finance statements filed this month. Mr. Moorman has raised $12,303 and spent $8,488; Mr. Murphy has raised $7,445 and spent $6,635.

        Meanwhile, Mr. Eggemeier has raised $11,341 and spent $3,474, while Mr. Callery has raised $7,235 and spent $3,737.

        Despite the more than $22,000 spent, few people expect a sizable turnout for the primary. Covington's race for mayor could be decided by as little as 10 percent of the city's 28,000 registered voters, said Kenton County Clerk Bill Aylor.


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