Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Deters touts fiscal savvy in TV ad

`Proven watchdog,' commercial claims; but opponent says spot misleads

By Nathan Leaf
Enquirer Columbus Bureau

COLUMBUS - Locked in the tightest statewide race in Ohio, state Treasurer Joseph Deters released his first television ad Monday, calling himself a guardian of taxpayer money.

The commercial calls Mr. Deters "a proven watchdog" in the treasurer's office and highlights $1 billion earned on investments during his term.

The ad campaign is part of the Cincinnati Republican's strategy to retain his office by beating his Democratic opponent, former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Mary Boyle, who leads him in public opinion polls by anywhere from 2 to 7 points.

Mr. Deters has already spent $1.6 million dollars on TV ads. His campaign spokeswoman, Lisa Peterson, said the ad, which cost about $17,000 to produce, will run in all of Ohio's major media markets until the Nov. 5 election, though it will not begin running in Cincinnati until next week.

The ad also features scenes of Mr. Deters working and spending time with his family, as a narrator credits Mr. Deter's ability to earn money while fostering education and creating jobs.

Ms. Boyle's campaign advisor, Jerry Austin, said the ads are misleading and the state has actually lost jobs while Mr. Deters has been treasurer.

"It's a typical political ad. ... He's trying to refute what newspapers have written about him for the last four years," Mr. Austin said, referring to questions involving Mr. Deters' campaign fund-raising and a report by the Cleveland Plain Dealer that showed his cautious investment strategy earned the state $50 million to $140 million less than other states.

While Ms. Boyle has raised only $450,000, Mr. Austin said she will run TV ads to counter Mr. Deters' spot.

Last week, the Ohio Elections Commission dismissed a complaint that the Hamilton County Republican Party illegally funneled contributions to Mr. Deters' campaign.

David Hartley, a former Democratic state representative from Springfield, alleged that a fund-raiser for Mr. Deters' 2001 primary bid for attorney general had told contributors to donate money to the party while promising it would be passed on to his campaign coffers. Mr. Deters is the former chairman of the Hamilton County Republican Party.

In a 3-3 vote on whether to dismiss the complaint or investigate it further, Republican vice chairman William West broke the tie and dismissed it.

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