By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer
And now, for voters' entertainment in these hot, slow days of August, comes another game of "will he or won't he?"
Hamilton County Commissioner John Dowlin, borrowing a page from Senate non-candidate Jerry Springer, has been debating for months whether or not to seek another term.
The 73-year-old said in his 2000 re-election campaign that he would retire in 2004, but he had made no final decision as of last month. Now, it appears he will announce today that he's running for a fourth four-year term.
Dowlin, a retired Procter & Gamble executive and former mayor of Sharonville, is the longest-serving member of the three-person commission that governs Hamilton County. Democrat Todd Portune is planning to seek re-election to the seat he wrested from Bob Bedinghaus in 2000, and Republican Phil Heimlich was elected commissioner in 2002.
The next election is 15 months off, but since 2004 is a presidential election year, the filing deadline for the commissioners' primary is less than five months away.
Dowlin put out a coy press release Thursday inviting the media and others to a noon press conference at GOP headquarters, to be followed by a reception at a Main Street bar.
The release, paid for by the Dowlin for Commissioner Committee, promises: "Now the question will finally be answered. Will County Commissioner John Dowlin run for re-election in 2004 or will he enjoy retirement fishing on the beach?"
Word from Dowlin's wife, Sally, is that he will run again, but aide Rob Fredericks said, "I wouldn't take that to the bank."
The man himself did not return calls seeking comment.
Regardless of what Dowlin does, two eastern Hamilton County Republicans are preparing to make their own bids for commissioner: Blue Ash Councilman Jim Sumner and longtime Anderson Township Trustee Russ Jackson.
Both said they are awaiting Dowlin's announcement before deciding which of the two seats up for re-election they'll seek.
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