Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Bush campaign chairman to speak at GOP dinner

Around the suburbs

The campaigner-in-chief to the commander-in-chief is coming to speak to Hamilton County's Republican faithful.

Bush-Cheney '04 Campaign Chairman Ken Mehlman will headline the county Republicans' annual Lincoln-Reagan Dinner next month, GOP officials say.

The event will be 7 p.m. Feb. 6 at Union Terminal in the West End - the same place where President Bush first laid the policy groundwork for a U.S. war on Iraq in October 2002.

Mehlman was the White House political director before becoming campaign chairman last year. The 36-year-old Maryland native also has worked on campaigns for U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine of Ohio and former President George H. Bush, among other Republicans.

The cost to attend the Lincoln-Reagan Dinner is $75 per person. Tickets: 381-5454.

Also on the GOP campaign calendar is Keith Corman's kickoff fund-raiser, set for Jan. 23.

"Yawn," you might think. Fund-raisers are a dime a dozen this month, and Corman is a Colerain Township trustee butting heads with state Sen. Louis Blessing for an open state House seat.

What's interesting is that U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, a Westwood Republican, is Corman's keynote speaker. Not only that, but Prosecutor Mike Allen is co-host of the breakfast. Seems some heavyweights are not at all bored by this Colerain trustee.

Cindi Andrews

PRIMARY FIGHT OFF: Not only did Butler County Republican leaders avoid a nasty, expensive primary fight for county commissioner, they also gave Courtney Combs a jump on state House seniority.

Combs, who was running unopposed for the legislature in November, will be appointed next week to replace 54th Ohio House Rep. Greg Jolivette, R-Hamilton. Jolivette then will be appointed to replace Combs instead of challenging Commissioner Michael A. Fox in a divisive primary.

The deal gives Combs a year of seniority over all the freshman legislators elected in November.

"He can build a relationship with the House speaker and leadership, and learn his way about the statehouse. It's a big help," says Jolivette, who also was appointed mid-term to the House in 1997. He filled the unexpired term of Fox, who had returned to Butler to replace late Commissioner Janet Clemmons.

All 99 House seats are up for election in November. Nine members cannot run again because of term limits.

John Kiesewetter

WITHDRAWN: Mason resident William Ehrstine is the only person to drop out of a Warren County race so far.

Ehrstine, who ran for Mason City Council last fall but lost, was running against Mason Councilman John McCurley for a spot on the Republican central committee. But it wasn't the competition that made up his mind - Ehrstine said he didn't even know McCurley was running until Monday - but the lack of hours in the day.

"I just don't have the time to devote to it," he said. "I was conflicted about doing it in the first place. ... It's simply a matter of realizing I needed to prioritize."

Erica Solvig

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