Thursday, November 09, 2000

Council vacancy attracts interest

Three emerge as candidates for Portune's seat

By Robert Anglen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cincinnati Councilman Todd Portune isn't ready to name his replacement at city hall.

        But he is upset that others are naming successors. Even before election results were final Tuesday night, he said, an intense lobbying effort was under way.

        “There are an awful lot of people who could be excellent members of the council,” said Mr. Portune, who became the first Democrat in 36 years to win a seat on the Hamilton County Commission. “I feel an obligation that the representative be someone who, first and foremost, will approach the job with the same passion that I have.”

        By Wednesday the names of three potential successors had been bandied about Democratic headquarters and city hall. While Mr. Portune confirmed the names, he said these are not the only candidates who would be on his list.

        The three are:

        • John Cranley, who lost to Republican incumbent Congressman Steve Chabot. Mr. Cranley, 26, Price Hill, is credited with running a strong campaign.

        • Scott Seidewitz, a 36-year-old East Walnut Hills resident who ran in last year's city council election. The marketing and advertising consultant has worked on a number of local campaigns. He helped to develop a series of ads for Mr. Portune featuring action figures modeled after Mr. Portune and Commissioner Bob Bedinghaus.

        • Jane Anderson, a 59-year-old East Walnut Hills resident and adjunct professor of political science at the University of Cincinnati, who also ran in last year's city council election.

        The duty of naming a successor falls to the four remaining Democrats on Cincinnati's nine-member council.

        Mayor Charlie Luken and Councilmembers Minette Cooper, Paul Booth and Alicia Reece said Wednesday they expect Mr. Portune to help name his successor, who will serve for one year.

        A decision does not need to be made until January, when Mr. Portune will take office.

        “I'm looking to someone who will commit to neighborhood development and who has a vision for downtown,” said Ms. Reece. “I think Todd has been committed to neighborhoods and I don't want to lose that.”

        Ms. Cooper said this is an opportunity for more diversity on council and hopes that a woman will be chosen as a replacement.

        “I'm keeping an open mind,” Mr. Luken said. “I know there are a couple of people interested.”


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