Saturday, May 31, 2003

Springer stars in Butler Co.

Democratic dinner hears would-be candidate

By Kevin Aldridge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

FAIRFIELD - Butler County Democrats say they learned Friday night that while some of the views expressed on Jerry Springer's talk show might be ridiculous, his political views are not.

About 200 supporters of the county Democratic Party turned out for the annual Butler County Truman-Kennedy-Holcomb Dinner at the Reception Center in Fairfield to listen to Springer's views on Ohio's economy and schools, among other topics.

Party Chairman Dan Gattermeyer called it "the biggest and best dinner I've ever seen."

Springer, 59, told the audience he planned to make a decision by July on whether to run for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat held by George Voinoich, the Cleveland Republican who was a two-term governor.

Springer's decision would depend largely on whether he could shake off the stigma of his controversial daytime talk show.

"If I can be helpful, I'm going to do it," Springer said. "But if I can't break through the clutter of my show, I won't waste your time."

State Sen Eric Fingerhut of Cleveland has already declared his candidacy for the Democratic nomination.

The Democrats in the crowd seemed to respond positively to Springer's energy, wit and platform, giving him several standing ovations throughout the evening.

A.C. Mitchell, a Middletown Democrat, said he wished Springer the best.

"He has the resources to run a very powerful campaign," Mitchell said.

"He's shown that he can bring the worst out of people (on his show), now I think he's trying to show he can bring the good out of people, too."

Hamilton County Municipal Judge Tim Black, an unsuccessful candidate for the Ohio Supreme Court last year, said the turnout at the dinner shows just how influential and popular Springer can be.

"He brings excitement everywhere he goes and we could use some excitement in the Democratic Party," Black said.

"We know his TV show is just a gag," said John Holcomb. "But his politics and leadership are for real."


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