Thursday, August 24, 2000

Campbell GOP hopes to pack more punch


Barbecue picnic thrown to rally support for Bush

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FORT THOMAS — Campbell County Republicans are hoping to start a Northern Kentucky political tradition by holding a barbecue and family picnic — with a focus on the presidential race and a sense of party unity.

        The Sept. 9 event will be at the home of Keith and Lisa Daniels in California and is being billed as both a party fund-raiser — tickets for the dinner are $40 — and a way to meet other GOP activists and supporters.

        “The barbecue is designed as much to make friends and have fun as to raise money for the party,” said Barb Haas, chairwoman of the Campbell County Republican Party.

        “This is a presidential campaign year, and Kentucky is a major battleground state,” Mrs. Haas said. “That gets people in interested in politics, and we want to take advantage of that heightened awareness ... (and) show them what the Republican Party is all about.”

        A speaker for the event has not been named, but Mrs. Haas said it would be a member of the campaign team for Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush.

        For the last several years, Democrats from Campbell County, Northern Kentucky and even some of those on the state level — including Gov. Paul Patton and Lt. Gov. Steve Henry — have gathered each August at the Cold Spring home of Dave Guidugli for a summer picnic that has become one of the major annual political events in the region.

        The Boone County Republican Party and the Kenton County Democratic Party also stage annual political and social events.

        Mrs. Haas said the barbecue is a sign the Campbell County GOP is on stable ground.

        Though the Republicans trail Democrats in the coun ty in the number of registered voters — 25,748 to 21,426 — the GOP has been successful in winning a number of offices.

        U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning, state lawmakers Katie Stine and Joe Fischer of Fort Thomas and Jon David Reinhardt of Claryville, Judge-executive Steve Pendery of Fort Thomas and county Corner Mark Schweitzer all are Republicans.

        But before Mrs. Haas took over the party chairmanship in December, the county GOP had been racked by infighting, turf battles, poor fund raising and an overall lack of direction.

        Mrs. Haas moved quickly to organize fund-raisers for candidates, assign new members to the party's executive committee and open a dialogue with the press and some of the factions that emerged within the party's structure.

        The barbecue, she said, is “another example of the growing strength of both the Republican Party, and the Republican Party apparatus in Campbell County.”

        “We've always had a good Republican base here in Campbell County,” Mrs. Haas said. “Now we're starting to work together as a team.”

        Damon Thayer, vice chairman of the Kentucky Republican Party, said he “is as excited as I've ever been about the Campbell County Republican Party.”

        “I always felt that the Campbell County Republican organization never quite lived up to its reputation,” said Mr. Thayer, who worked with the party's former leadership during his years as chairman of the 4th Congressional District GOP.

        “But with Barb Haas at the helm, Campbell County is ready to take its rightful place on par with the Republican committees in Boone and Kenton counties,” he said.

       The event will be 6:30-11 p.m. Entertainment will be provided. For more information, directions or reservations, call 781-5899.
       

       



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