Sunday, November 28, 1999

CAPITOL INSIDER


Bradley vs. Gore sparks father vs.son

BY MICHAEL HAWTHORNE
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        As the nation gets ready to choose presidential candidates, members of the Mallory family are in competing camps.

        State Sen. Mark Mallory, D-Cincinnati, is backing Vice President Al Gore for the Democratic nomination. His dad, former House Majority Leader William Mallory Sr., is a fan of former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley.

        Too bad the late actor Richard Dawson isn't around to emcee this political episode of Family Feud.

        “I normally defer to my father's wisdom,” Mark Mallory said last week. “But in this case, I think he needs to listen to me.”

        Bill Mallory isn't about to pull rank, but he had some friendly words of advice for his son. He noted that conventional wisdom about front-runners like Mr. Gore doesn't always hold true.

        “I'm a student of history,” the elder Mr. Mallory said. “I would remind my son that people thought (Republican) Thomas Dewey would win the presidency in 1948. We all know that Harry Truman was the one that won.”

        “We have both agreed that whoever wins the nomination, Dad and I will be civil to one another,” Mark Mallory said.

        His dad agreed. “Our fencing will not be lethal. Our house will not be divided upon itself.

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        The folks at Ohio Citizen Action hit upon another reason why electronic filing of campaign finance reports is a good idea: It should cut down on reporting errors.

        When the government watchdog group started a computer-assisted analysis of contributions during the 1997-98 election cycle, the largest contribution they found was a $3 million donation from Senate President Richard Finan, R-Evendale, to the Republican Senate Campaign Committee.

        It turns out that somebody entering data at the Secretary of State's Office misplaced a decimal point. Mr. Finan's contribution actually was $300,000.

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        Last year's race for Ohio secretary of state attracted more than twice the money raised four years earlier for the same office.

        Republican Ken Blackwell and Democrat Charleta Tavares raised $2.7 million for their campaigns, with sizable chunks of cash coming from the two major political parties.

        By contrast, Republican Bob Taft and Democrat Dan Brady raised $1.1 million for their 1994 campaigns for secretary of state.

        The sizable increase in campaign cash can be attributed to a pair of factors.

        Mr. Blackwell initially was a candidate for governor. State Republican leaders persuaded him to drop out by promising a huge infusion of cash if he instead ran for secretary of state. (The state GOP vowed to chip in $1 million, but gave about $566,000.)

        Moreover, as a member of the state Apportionment Board, the secretary of state helps draw legislative boundaries every 10 years based on the U.S. Census. The party that controls the board can draw districts favorable to its members.

        A Republican sweep of nonjudicial statewide offices ensured the GOP will maintain control of the redistricting software for another decade.

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        Term limits already are opening up opportunities for other lawmakers.

        Rep. Gary Cates, R-West Chester, has been appointed chairman of the House Commerce and Labor Committee. And Rep. Rose Vesper, R-New Richmond, is the new chairwoman of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

        Mr. Cates takes over for Rep. Robert Corbin, R-Centerville, who is the new chairman of the House Finance and Appropriations Committee. (Mr. Corbin, in turn, replaced former Rep. E.J. Thomas, R-Columbus, who resigned to start a public relations firm.)

        Ms. Vesper replaces former Rep. Joseph Haines, R-Xenia, who resigned to take a job as assistant director of the state Department of Agriculture.

        Stay tuned. This isn't the last time lawmakers will play musical chairs.

       



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