Sunday, February 10, 2002

What's a few mill among friends?

Political notebook

        Some of the biggest contributors to campaigns are campaigners. And many are here in Southwest Ohio.

        The latest campaign filings with the secretary of state in Columbus reveal how the Republican and Democratic state legislative campaign committees fill up their cash registers.

        They do it by getting lots of money from the campaigns of state legislators who are cinches to win re-election and have so much money they can afford to give some away.

        The biggest fund is the House Republican Campaign Committee. It reports a balance of $3,107,019, after having raised nearly $3.4 million in 2001. The fund is controlled by Speaker Larry Householder, R-Glenford.

        Pouring money into the committee are the campaign organizations of such local Republican representatives as Gary Cates, R-West Chester, ($130,000); Jean Schmidt, R-Loveland, ($76,300); Michelle Schneider, R-Madeira, ($50,000); Greg Jolivette, R-Hamilton ($40,500); Patricia Clancy, R-Cincinnati ($116,000); Tom Raga, R-Mason ($77,000); Shawn Webster, R-Hamilton ($25,000), and Bill Seitz, R-Green Township ($35,000).

        As for Mr. Householder, $500,000.

        On the Senate side, the fund run by Senate President Dick Finan, R-Evendale, raised $1.9 million in 2001.

        The biggest check, for $200,000, came from the committee to elect Sen. Doug White, R-Manchester. Mr. White is the No. 2 in the GOP caucus.

        Mr. Finan's campaign contributed $100,000, while colleague Sen. Louis Blessing, R-Cincinnati, chipped in $40,000.

        The Democrats are raising some of their own money this way, but aren't in the same league as the GOP.

        The House Democratic Caucus raised $412,059 last year, with the biggest chunk coming from Rep. Dean DePiero, D-Parma, ($50,000). The Ohio Senate Democrats fund took in $250,146. Locally, State Sen. Mark Mallory, D-Cincinnati, contributed $5,100. Mr. Mallory was recently elevated to minority whip, a top spot among Democrats.

        The GOP has 59 of the 99 seats in the House and 21 of the 33 seats in the Senate.

        Mission Impossible? David Schaff, an assistant to Hamilton County commissioner Todd Portune, has an uphill climb.

        Mr. Schaff, 24, will be the Democratic candidate who tries to oust one-term Rep. Tom Brinkman, R-Mount Lookout, in the new 34th House District.

        The district includes such eastern Cincinnati neighborhoods as Mount Washington, Hyde Park and Mount Lookout, part of Columbia Township, all of Anderson Township, Fairfax, Newtown and Terrace Park.

        It is a comfortable place for a Republican.

        Mr. Schaff calls Mr. Brinkman an extreme conservative, a “Mr. No” who rejects substantive solutions to problems.

        The Republican party thought Mr. Brinkman was too conservative in 2000 when it endorsed someone else in the primary.

        But Mr. Brinkman, expert at organizing anti-tax campaigns in Cincinnati, easily won the primary and then coasted to a win over his Democratic opponent.

        He's been getting attention in Columbus for a bill that would require women to produce a letter from a psychiatrist before they can get the abortion pill RU-486. A bill of his also would let Ohioans carry a concealed weapon without a permit.

        Political Notebook appears on Sunday. It is compiled by Politics Editor Ron Liebau, 768-8396 or


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