Saturday, August 26, 2000

Donors will welcome Bush

Indian Hill event won't be open to public

By James Pilcher
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush will make his third stop of the year in Greater Cincinnati for a private fund-raiser for the Republican Party next week, Hamilton County GOP officials said Friday.

        “This shows the importance of southwestern Ohio,” said Chip Gerhardt, executive director of the Hamilton County Republican Party. “They aren't taking it for granted here.”

        The Texas governor, who won his party's nomination this month, will appear Wednesday night at the house of Mercer Reynolds III in Indian Hill, Mr. Gerhardt said.

        Mr. Reynolds, a Cincinnati investor who was a partner with Mr. Bush in the oil business and ownership of the Texas Rangers baseball team, would not comment on specifics, saying only that the Hamilton County Republican Party was organizing the event.

        Mr. Gerhardt would not give further details and said there were no public appearances planned.

        Bush campaign officials confirmed he was to make a public appearance Thursday in Toledo, but would not confirm details of his Wednesday stop.

        Mr. Bush made appearances in Covington and Blue Ash over the weekend of July 30-31 leading into the Republican convention in Philadelphia.

        He also held a rally at Memorial Hall on Feb. 29 in the midst of a heated campaign battle with Arizona Sen. John McCain, who lost the Ohio primary to Mr. Bush.

        And last summer, Mr. Bush came to Cincinnati for a reception at the Omni Netherland Hotel that raised $1 million. That event was also coordinated by Mr. Reynolds and William O. DeWitt Jr., another former Bush business associate.

        He has also made trips to other parts of Ohio throughout the year, showing the importance of the state considered a key battleground in the campaign against Vice President Al Gore, the Democratic nominee.

        “We always welcome Gov. Bush in Southwest Ohio,” said Rep. Rob Portman, a Terrace Park Republican. “This shows how critical this area is to winning the state, and it keeps our enthusiasm level high.”


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