Tuesday, August 27, 2002
Physician consults a specialist
What do you think of Phil Heimlich? I asked a politically savvy friend.
Oh, he replied casually, I think he'll make a good commissioner.
Mike Ford laughs when I tell him that.
He has been hired by Mr. Heimlich's opponent, Democrat Jean Siebenaler. A formidable political strategist, Mr. Ford is not accustomed to being counted out so early in the game.
Former Ford clients include Evan Bayh, Ted Kennedy, Richard Daley, John Gilligan, Paul Tsongas, Ed Rendell. And before that, Bella Abzug, Birch Bayh, Morris Udall. Senators, governors, big-city mayors.
And one Green Township physician who wants to be a Hamilton County commissioner.
A big pile of money
Somebody must have laid a great big pile of money on Mike Ford, I suggest.
He laughs again. A bear of a man, he makes a significant sound of glee. It makes me feel very amusing.
I think the campaign just got around to paying me back for my airline ticket here, he says.
A Xavier University graduate, he lives just outside Washington, D.C. He met Jerry Springer, who was a frequent visitor to the XU campus during his 1970 bid for a congressional seat. Mike Ford wound up running the campaign.
We had very little money, so we couldn't have a yard sign in every yard, a coordinator in every precinct.
What we had instead was a loyal band of supporters who worked like crazy, who believed in the candidate, he says.
Money, of course, is one of the immediate challenges for a candidate, especially one who was, shall we say, runner-up in her last race.
Jean Siebenaler took a thumping from Bill Seitz in the fall of 2000 when she ran for state representative.
So, it was a nice boost for her campaign when John and Francie Pepper agreed to host a fund-raiser last weekend. The reception at the Peppers' home was nice for a lot of reasons, not all financial. Francie commands enormous respect among women in town for her work for the YWCA and battered women.
And Mr. Pepper's reach extends well beyond his own company. The former Procter & Gamble chair has thrown his considerable weight behind public schools and the Freedom Center.
Not surprising, Mr. Ford says, that the Peppers would choose to support his candidate. There's a painful separation in this community. And I think a lot of people believe Jean can help fix it if she gets the chance.
To get the chance in Hamilton County, she'll have to win over a considerable number of Republicans. Mike Ford can count. In fact, it is his specialty. We start with our Democratic base, then try to reach beyond that, he says. There are a lot of voters who can identify with a candidate who is a wife, a mother of two.
A lot of voters?
Hamilton County is 52.3 percent female. Of the three people who preside over its $2 billion annual budget, the people who make decisions about social services and sewers, exactly 0 percent of them is a woman, Mike Ford points out. It's time.
He laughs again. But I don't think he's kidding.
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Past columns at Enquirer.com/columns/pulfer.
Bad-check charge against Erpenbeck dismissed
Lawsuit against boycotters dismissed
Transit tax levy faces opposition
Suspect in child killings could face death
Twitty grand jury continues
Green's no-show blamed on illness, not boycott
PULFER: Physician consults a specialist
RADEL: Sweet memories of downtown
First day of school typical, radical
Man sets fire to home after domestic fight
Medicare supporters visit Anderson Twp.
Nurses plan to hand out 50,000 ID cards
Police hold man for multiple burglaries
Two men indicted on rape charges
Good News: Bag litter problem at Riverfest
Blue Ash, sister city kick off idea exchange
Celebration Bus seeks Reds fans' signatures
Butler officials feel pain of reappraisal
Hamilton fires officer accused of violence
Hamilton open for baseball team
Design unveiled for new Monroe district campus
Tour gets kids ready for school
Waste treatment resumes with loaner pump
3 firms bid for Kings' rehab plans
Baseball club treasurer indicted in theft
Cleveland man likely died of West Nile virus
Confidentiality on trial in Baker case
Gov. Taft expected to campaign for math
Aquarium reels in director locally
Baseball team names pour in
Campbell schools to start drug tests
Foes at odds on dispatch merger
TANK: Lawyers trying to jack up land price
Voluntary water restriction almost over
15 locations cited for selling alcohol to minor
Police criticized for records failures