Friday, October 27, 2000

Lindner's funds aid Bedinghaus

$100K given to county GOP will help pay for ads

By Dan Klepal and Howard Wilkinson
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cincinnati Reds owner Carl Lindner, who is having a $330 million baseball stadium built at taxpayers' expense, thanks largely to the efforts of Republican Hamilton County Commissioner Bob Bedinghaus, has given $100,000 to the county's Republican Party.

        The majority of that money is headed to television advertising for Mr. Bedinghaus' re-election campaign.

        The ads are aimed at winning over conservative Republican voters by bashing Democratic opponent Todd Portune as being too liberal.

        Mr. Lindner made two $50,000 contributions to the party, on Sept. 11 and Oct. 2, according to campaign finance reports filed Thursday. The money amounts to more than 40 percent of the $242,000 raised by the party between April 8 and Oct. 18.

        “At this point, the majority will go to Bob,” Republican Party Chairman Joe Deters said.

        In addition to the Republican Party money, Mr. Bedinghaus has raised more than $196,000 over the same period, and more than $357,000 dating back to last year. Mr. Portune has raised $199,474 since April, and more than $229,000 since last year.

        The six-figure, anti-Portune ad campaign begins with a 30-second TV spot that will begin airing during local news shows tonight. The ad claims Mr. Portune opposes teen curfews, supports gay marriages, and once advocated that “crooks” be allowed to turn in their guns to authorities and get a free pair of sneakers.

        The ad also will tout a party-sponsored Web site called, which will feature Portune votes in Cincinnati City Council and public statements by the Democratic councilman.

        The ad campaign is unusual because it targets not undecided or independent voters, but Mr. Bedinghaus' fellow Republicans.

        “It has become very obvious to us that Republican voters in the suburbs don't know Todd Portune and some of the goofy positions he has taken,” Mr. Deters said.

        Mr. Portune said those voters still won't know him after watching the ads. And, he says, they won't know the real issues in the race.

        “All they're trying to do is divert attention away from the real issues,” Mr. Portune said, declining to respond to specific points made in the ad.

        “Bob Bedinghaus has proven time and again that he is the most liberal spender this county has ever seen. And he can't handle the job.”

        The Republican Party's polling in the county commission race shows Mr. Bedinghaus is in trouble because many Republican voters are upset with him over the deal the Bengals received from the county to build Paul Brown Stadium. Mr. Portune has made the stadium issue the cornerstone of his campaign.

        The 30-second TV spot, featuring actors playing a husband and wife looking at the site, hits at “hot button” issues for conservative Republican voters.

        Mr. Portune is fighting back with a series of “action figure” ads which show a toy Mr. Bedinghaus giving away luxury items to a toy Bengals owner Mike Brown and presiding over a “closed-door” meeting.

        The largest contributors to Mr. Portune's campaign have been labor unions, with Southwest Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters giving $40,000 and Laborer's Local 265 kicking in $20,000. In addition, talk show host and former Cincinnati Mayor Jerry Springer has con tributed $10,000.

        Neither Mr. Lindner Nor Mr. Brown has contributed to the Bedinghaus campaign fund in the latest campaign finance reporting period. Mr. Lindner and family members gave $44,000 directly to Mr. Bedinghaus during the last cycle, with the Brown family adding another $13,000.

        Another major contributor to Mr. Bedinghaus is the Family First PAC at $35,000. In addition, more than $52,000 was raised at a fund-raiser hosted by fellow Republican commissioner Tom Neyer on Oct. 18.

        In the other county commission race, incumbent Republican John Dowlin raised more than $96,000 while Democrat challenger Joe Wolterman raised $113,313 between April 7 and Oct. 18.

        Neither of the totals for Mr. Wolterman and Mr. Portune includes nearly $36,000 raised by their “Had Enough” Political Action Committee.


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