Thursday, October 2, 2003

Deters advises Butler Co.

Solve Fox-Jolivette enmity before primary, he says

By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

HAMILTON - Ohio Treasurer Joe Deters is urging the Butler County Republican Party to avoid a divisive primary election next year between Mike Fox and Greg Jolivette for a county commissioner's seat.

County GOP leaders, upset with Fox's refusal to end his public criticism of other Republican office-holders, are supporting Ohio House Rep. Greg Jolivette's bid to unseat Fox, a commissioner for six years. Many observers expect the political battle to become nasty.

Deters, a Butler County resident, said in a recent letter to Joe Schwartz, county GOP chairman, that he is "deeply concerned" about the potential harm the Fox-Jolivette primary could do to the party.

"From my experience, I can tell you that as long as this fight continues, it will only get worse," Deters writes. "The more elected officials that are drawn into the fray, the more attention we pay to fighting amongst ourselves, and the more money we siphon from furthering the Republican cause, the more we expose ourselves to letting our opposition organize and take advantage of our infighting."

Deters recalled how state and local GOP officials - including Schwarz - had encouraged him and Jim Petro not to run against each other for the Ohio attorney general's position in the 2002 primary. Deters agreed to drop out of the attorney general's race and run for re-election as state treasurer. Petro, who promised Deters he would support his bid for attorney general in 2006, ran for attorney general and won.

Deters said Butler Republicans should use that as a model for resolving the dispute over Fox and Jolivette and offered to help in any way he can.

"I feel strongly that our party would be better served if we found a way to settle our differences among ourselves and let cooler heads prevail," he said.

Schwarz said he appreciates Deters' concern. In response, he has invited Fox, Jolivette, Deters and several other party officials to meet on Friday afternoon at GOP headquarters in Fairfield to see if differences can be resolved.

"I don't know there is any common ground," Schwarz said. "But if there is, we will certainly seek it."


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