Friday, August 24, 2001

27 file petitions for council race

Mayoral battle will steal thunder

By Howard Wilkinson and Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Twenty-seven candidates filed petitions to run for Cincinnati City Council by Thursday's deadline — the largest field in a decade.

        Those candidates may have a harder time than ever getting noticed.

        Unlike in past campaigns, this year's council candidates could end up playing second fiddle to a contest that Cincinnati has not seen since 1925 — the direct election for mayor.

   The candidates who filed for Cincinnati City Council by the Thursday deadline are (incumbents in bold):
Jane Anderson
   Lawra Baumann
   Paul M. Booth
   Minette Cooper
    John A. Cranley
David C. Crowley
   Akiva Freeman
   David Pepper
   Alicia Reece
   Pat DeWine
Tom Jones
   Sam Malone
   Chris Monzel
Todd Ward
Dawn Denno
   John Schlagetter
   Jim Tarbell
Ken Anderson
   Toni Andrews
   Theo Barnes
   David J. Boyd
   Laketa Cole
   Wes Flinn
   William Kirkland
   Nathaniel Livingston Jr.
   Clarence D. Williams III
   Eric Wilson
        The 2001 election for nine at-large City Council seats has the potential to change the face of City Council radically.

        At least two seats are up for grabs: Republican Phil Heimlich runs into his eight-year term limit, and Democrat Charlie Luken is running for mayor — an office that, for the first time, will be separate from City Council.

        And two other incumbents, Democrat John Cranley and Republican Chris Monzel, were appointed to their seats to fill vacancies and have never won an election.

        Combine that with the renewed interest in city government in the aftermath of April's unrest, and 52 people took out petitions this summer to run for City Council.

        The requirements that candidates gather 500 signatures on a petition and pay a $75 filing fee eliminated almost half of those interested.

        “The council race may be more of a name-recognition thing than it has ever been before,” said Gene Beaupre, a political scientist at Xavier University.

        “If I were running somebody's campaign, I'd tell them to find the most creative way they can think of to get people to remember their names and hope for the best,” Mr. Beaupre said.

        He said it will be harder than ever for a council candidate — particularly an unknown one — to jump on an issue and ride it to a council seat, the way Mr. Heimlich did with the crime issue eight years ago.

        “It's going to mean grass-roots organization, and getting out and meeting voters one-on-one is going to be more important, too,” Mr. Beaupre said. “Maybe that's a good thing.”

        Two factors usually give a council candidate a leg up: incumbency and a party endorsement — from the Republican Party, Democratic Party or the Charter Committee.

        The Democrats are the only party to field a full slate of nine council candidates.

        The Republicans have only five candidates. Three are African-Americans — a fact party leaders say speaks to the changing demographics of the city.

        The Charter Committee, which is fielding former TV news anchor Courtis Fuller as its mayoral candidate, has three endorsed council candidates.

        A fourth, Kino Harrison, was unendorsed by the Charter Committee after it learned of Mr. Harrison's criminal record, which included convictions for disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and contempt of court.

        Mr. Harrison intended to run as an independent, but did not file petitions by the deadline.

        Not all the candidates who filed petitions are sure to appear on the ballot.

        Three of them — Republican Sam Malone and independents David J. Boyd and William Kirkland — filed their petitions close to the deadline and have not had their signatures reviewed.

        The Hamilton County Board of Elections will decide which candidates meet the legal requirements at a meeting Aug. 28.


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