Thursday, September 27, 2001

FOP mum on mayor race

Candidates backed in other races

By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Fraternal Order of Police won't endorse a candidate for strong mayor in Cincinnati's first direct election for the job since 1925.

        The police union released a list of political endorsements Wednesday that included candidates for Cincinnati City Council.

        It did not take sides in the mayor's race between Democrat Charlie Luken and the Charter-endorsed Courtis Fuller.

        With issues of crime and police-community relations at the forefront — and the mayor's race as the stage for much of that debate — the FOP endorsements were perhaps the most anticipated of the campaign season.

        FOP President Keith Fangman was in Washington, D.C., Wednesday and could not be reached for comment. He told FOP members of the non-endorsement in the union's monthly newsletter.

        “Since the new strong mayor position is such a radical change from our current form of government, we will take a "wait and see' approach to whomever is elected, be it Charlie Luken or Courtis Fuller. As far as we're concerned, the new mayor system will be put on probation in this first term,” Mr. Fangman wrote.

        If the new mayor consistently supports the police union's issues, the FOP will support his re-election in 2005, he said.

        If not, “I can assure you we will fight publicly to remove that person from office and paint them as "anti-police' in the minds of voters,” Mr. Fangman said.

        The FOP endorsed eight candidates for City Council, including only two incumbents: Republican Chris Monzel and Charterite Jim Tarbell.

        Challengers endorsed by the FOP are Democrats Lawra Baumann, David Crowley and David Pepper and Republicans Tom Jones, Sam Malone, and Todd Ward.

        Mr. Luken has chalked up three major endorsements thus far: Cincinnati Fire Fighters Union Local 46; the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; and the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors.

        Mr. Fuller has said he will not seek endorsements by any group, and will instead focus on individual voters.


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