Sunday, August 15, 1999

One Deters campaigns for another

Fund-raiser for Kenton race

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FORT MITCHELL — Republican Eric Deters will kick off fund-raising for his 2002 Kenton County attorney's race with an event featuring a popular Ohio politician who shares the same name.

        Ohio Treasurer Joe Deters, the former Hamilton County prosecutor and a rising star in the Ohio GOP, will be the special guest at an Oct. 26 fund-raiser for Eric Deters.

        The event will be held at the Fort Mitchell home of Eric Deter's campaign manager, Paula Miller.

        “This is a major coup and a real honor,” Eric Deters said last week over lunch at the Drawbridge Estates, the Fort Mitchell hotel and convention complex that is among his family's many business interests in Northern Kentucky.

        “Joe Deters has never come to Northern Kentucky to campaign or help a candidate raise money,” he said. “He'll be a good draw because people in Northern Kentucky know of him from his days as prosecutor in Hamilton County, and they know he's going places in politics.”

        The two politicians are distant cousins and friends, Eric Deters said.

        Joe Deters knows the Kentuckian's family and has attended the locally famous Kentucky Derby Party that Eric's father, Charlie — a well-known attorney, horse breeder and businessman — throws each May.

        “They're a great family, and they've been very good to me,” Joe Deters said from his Columbus office, noting that members of the Deters family — including Eric and Charlie — have contributed to his political campaigns.

        “Eric's a friend, and I was a little surprised when he asked me to help him by coming to his fund-raiser. But I'm glad to do it and I hope I can help him,” Joe Deters said.

        Incumbent Kenton County Attorney Garry Edmondson, a Fort Wright Democrat in his second term, said raising money this early in the campaign “is no big deal.”

        “I've been holding annual fund-raisers since I was elected in 1993,” Mr. Edmondson said. “I guess (Mr. Deters) knows he has a lot of work to do, so he figures he has to start early.”

        The contribution at Mr. Deters' fund-raiser will be $100 a person. Mr. Deters said he hopes to raise $25,000 to $50,000 at the event.

        Campaign manager Mrs. Miller is recognized within the local GOP as a top fund-raiser. Political events at her Victorian-style home have a reputation for raising large amounts of money and being well-attended social functions.

        Local political observers continue to be intrigued at the early start to Mr. Deters' campaign. Not only has he hired a campaign manager and organized a large fund-raiser, but Mr. Deters, 35, has also been seeking the support of some local attorneys active in politics.

        But they say Mr. Deters needs to run a long campaign to help heal some old wounds and re-establish contacts from his days of leading the Kenton County Republican Party in the mid- to late 1980s.

        Mr. Deters was known as a smart and hard-working political strategist, but he has acknowledged he had a fast tem per and a taste for confrontation. He also made some rash decisions, such as quitting the GOP for about a year to become a Democrat.

        “Eric is a unique individual,” said Kentucky Republican Party Vice Chairman Damon Thayer of Grant County.

        “The normal rules for politics are thrown out the window when it comes to him, and I mean that in a good way. But he's smart. He's got some fences to mend and he's got three years to do it,” he said.

        Boone County Democratic Party Chairwoman Kristi Nelson said with almost any other candidate she would be surprised about a campaign for county office beginning three years early.

        “But it's completely and totally consistent with his zealous attitude,” Mrs. Nelson said. “Anything he does, whether it's politics, business or life, he goes at with full vigor and full force ... and if he starts with raising $20,000 or more I wouldn't expect to see any other Republicans in that race.”


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