Monday, August 21, 2000

Warren GOP serves up beef and corn

Politicians work crowd in aprons

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — They carried pitchers of lemonade and iced tea, but what Republican candidates mainly served up Sunday at Lebanon High School were heaping helpings of schmooze.

        Never mind that there isn't one Democratic officeholder in Warren County government and that most GOP candidates here have token competition.

        Still, the beef and corn roast, a GOP tradition in Warren County for 25 years, attracted county, state and federal candidates and was on pace to draw its usual 1,000 diners.

        “I think it's better to work hard,” Deerfield Township Trustee Tom Raga said of his lack of complacency. He's the favorite this fall for the open 2nd Ohio House seat.

        Mr. Raga does, however, have competition from Mason resident Rick Inskeep, so he kept the lemonade flowing Sunday while shaking hands and chatting up supporters.

        He was joined on pitcher duty by state Supreme Court

        candidates Deborah Cook and Terrence O'Donnell, who will receive the estimated $5,000 from the roast, said Les Spaeth, county GOP chairman.

        U.S. Rep. Rob Portman, whose district includes half of Warren County, put his three children — Jed, 10, Will, 8, and Sally, 6 — to work pouring, too.

        “He brought an apron for me, but I haven't put it on,” Mr. Portman's father, Bill, said.

        A candidate for Warren County's other U.S. House seat — Michael Azinger of Marietta, who is trying to oust Ted Strickland, D-Lucasville — also showed.

        “We've fought that battle for two or three elections,” sighed Stella Hagemeyer, chairwoman of the county Board of Elections. “It's hard to beat an incumbent in congressional races.”

        Intrigue of the day: an appearance by Phil Heimlich, a councilman and mayor candidate in Cincinnati. Rumor had it that he might be laying the groundwork for higher office but he claimed to have no such motive.

        The beef and corn roast was a family affair with a lack of intense local races allowing a speech-free event and relaxed atmosphere. The food was as big a draw as the candidates, several diners said.

        The tally: 375 pounds of top round choice beef, 125 dozen ears of corn and 60 No. 10 (6 pound 7 ounce) cans of green beans. Mr. Spaeth takes special pride in his “secret recipe” green beans, which are jazzed with jowl bacon, ham and sugar.

        Corn also is tricky business, assured four volunteers — including probate Judge Mike Powell — who looked deceptively relaxed sitting under a canopy watching two pots cook on propane burners in the parking lot.


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- Warren GOP serves up beef and corn
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