Wednesday, April 10, 2002

Suburban Insider

Republicans ready for war in Congressional primary

        This year's 3rd Congressional District race is shaping up as the area's noisiest since 1998, when Roxanne Qualls took on Steve Chabot in the 1st and Nancy Hollister took on Ted Strickland in the 6th (both unsuccessfully).

        And it's still only primary season.

        The Democrats avoided a first-round bloodbath by having just one candidate — Richard Carne — file for the open seat, which will represent Montgomery, Warren, Highland and Clinton counties.

        No such luck in the Republican camp.

        Dayton's Mike Turner seems to be the party's pick, winning endorsements from the Montgomery County party, Ohio Right to Life and, in Warren County, state Rep. Tom Raga.

        Roy Brown, however, has put up a fight, challenging Mr. Turner's conservative credentials.

        Mr. Brown appears to have money on his side: A month before the election, he already is running television ads in both the Cincinnati and Dayton markets.

        The fact that he also has a newspaper company — family-owned Brown Publishing — in his corner prompted Mr. Turner to allege in a Federal Election Commission complaint last week that Mr. Brown is getting free, preferential press coverage in Brown papers.

        Mr. Turner has experience on his side: He used to be mayor of Dayton, and Mr. Brown has never held elected office.

        Hagel's a hit: With U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska as the featured speaker, the Butler County Republican Party's Lincoln Day Dinner on Monday drew 565 people.

        Joe Statzer, the party's political director, said it will be a month before he knows how much money was raised by this year's dinner, which included a silent auction.

        “This is our biggest fund-raiser of the year,” Mr. Statzer said. “We use it as a springboard to kick off some of our donation programs.”

        He said that Mr. Hagel, a Vietnam War hero and a self-made millionaire, was a hit with the audience.

        “Sen. Hagel was a very good speaker and brought a lot of pragmatic ideas with him,” Mr. Statzer said.
       — Steve Kemme

        The sun shines in Warren County: The county commissioners brought in one of Ohio's top Sunshine Law attorneys — former Deputy Attorney General Mark Weaver — to talk to staffers last week about what records and meetings are required to be public.

        More than five dozen top employees, including Sheriff Tom Ariss, County Administrator Bob Price and Assistant Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel, attended the daylong seminar in the county administration building.

        It was prompted by The Cincinnati Enquirer's recent lawsuit over several executive sessions held by the commissioners. (The county settled the suit by agreeing to pay the Enquirer's legal fees and follow the law).

        It's worth noting that the seminar was not part of the settlement, but rather a voluntary move on the commissioners' part.

        Fire away: Anyone with questions for the two Republicans running for Warren County commissioner should pass them along by Friday.

        The Enquirer will be interviewing incumbent Mike Kilburn and challenger Daryl Dunn as a prelude to the May 7 primary, and we'd love to know what you want to know. See below for contact information.

       Tips and comments on suburban politics may be relayed to reporter Cindi Andrews via phone, 755-4157, or e-mail,



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