Saturday, February 03, 2001

With year to go, attorney's race heats up

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FORT MITCHELL — Republican Eric Deters has made the aggressive — and locally unprecedented — move of hiring a full-time campaign manager for a county election more than a year away.

        Mr. Deters, an Independence lawyer running in the 2002 Kenton County attorney's race, said Friday he is hiring Republican Party strategist Hayes Robertson to manage his campaign.

        Mr. Deters also plans to open a campaign office soon for the 2002 GOP primary against incumbent County Attorney Garry Edmondson, who a week ago switched parties from Democrat to Republican.

        “I am very pleased to put my campaign in Hayes' hands,” Mr. Deters said Friday. “I'm more pleased he will be able to give me 100 percent of his time. Hayes is the best local campaign manager I could have.”

        Mr. Robertson, 39, has worked on local, state and federal campaigns. He plans to resign on March 1 from his job at the Kenton County jail, where he manages the community service program, to work for Mr. Deters full time.

        “By bringing me on, Eric shows we're going to be doing more than running a grass-roots campaign,” Mr. Robertson said Friday. “We're going to do everything it takes to win, from opening a campaign headquarters to hiring professional pollsters.”

        Mr. Robertson would not say how much he is being paid. But he did say Mr. Deters, who announced his campaign more than a year ago and already has a $40,000 war chest, plans to raise $200,000 for next year's primary and general elections.

        Republican Party officials praised Mr. Robertson's political talent and experience.

        “Hayes is a tenacious campaigner who will give 110 percent to any campaign that he is involved with,” said Fort Wright City Councilman Dave Hatter, a member of the Kenton County Republican Party executive committee.

        Kentucky Senate President Pro-Tem Dick Roeding, R-Lakeside Park, hired Mr. Robertson part time last year to manage his winning re-election campaign.

        Mr. Roeding said Mr. Robertson is adept at all facets of managing a political campaign, including organization, fund raising, media relations and opposition research.

        “Hayes made sure the campaign ran smoothly,” Mr. Roeding said. “I plan to hire him again when I run for re-election in four years.”

        Other candidates Mr. Hayes has worked for — on a paid or volunteer basis — include Kentucky's U.S. Sens. Jim Bunning of Southgate and Mitch McConnell of Louisville, Campbell County Judge-executive Steve Pendery and 4th District U.S. House candidate Rick Robinson.

        Mr. Edmondson could not be reached for comment.

        No Democrats have yet declared their candidacy in the race.


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