Wednesday, January 28, 2004

The latest Mike Fox news: Will Butler GOP endorse?

Around the suburbs

Not only did Butler County Republicans appoint state Rep. Greg Jolivette to the County Commission, they also endorsed him for November election.

That begs the question: Will the party now endorse incumbent Commissioner Michael A. Fox?

Neither Jolivette nor Fox had enough party executive committee votes to get the endorsement when they were running head-to-head in the March primary, before the term-limited Jolivette swapped jobs with Commissioner Courtney Combs.

Party Chairman Joe Schwarz says the executive committee should reconvene to discuss endorsing Fox. But doing so after his uncontested primary would be silly, says Joe Ruscingo, party finance chairman.

"(Winning) in effect makes him the official nominee of the party, because the people have voted."

Says Fox: "I'd love to get endorsed. Absolutely."

Fox will face Democratic West Chester Township Trustee Catherine Stoker in November.

John Kiesewetter

LEGAL FIGHT: Hamilton County commissioners appear to have won their battle of wills with Prosecutor Mike Allen.

Commissioners Phil Heimlich and Todd Portune - both lawyers - voted to hire an outside attorney last fall after complaining that the prosecutor's office was unresponsive to their need for timely legal advice.

Now, Assistant Prosecutor Bob Johnstone has started attending commissioners' Wednesday meetings. He came in handy last week when Heimlich remembered he owned one share of stock in a company that had routine business before commissioners.

It's not a conflict of interest, Johnstone said, unless Heimlich controlled at least 5 percent of the stock.

Cindi Andrews

SORRY, JOHN: Two prominent Mason officials - Mayor Pete Beck and Vice Mayor Charlene Pelfrey - are supporting a Deerfield businessman over fellow Councilman John McCurley for Warren County commissioner.

But they say people should not take their support of Dave Young as a sign that there's trouble on council. Beck says he likes Young's business perspective. Also, Young, like Pelfrey, is backed by Right to Life leaders.

Also on the GOP ballot for commissioner: farmer Tom Spellmire and educator John Lazares.

Erica Solvig

SETTING LIMITS: Pat DeWine is pledging to serve no more than eight years, or two terms, if Republicans support his bid to replace Hamilton County Commissioner John Dowlin.

It's yet another way the 35-year-old Cincinnati councilman is trying to distinguish himself from Dowlin, 73, who's seeking his fourth term as commissioner. Dowlin said in 2000 that he would retire after this term, but he changed his mind last summer.

A self-imposed term limit probably isn't a big sacrifice for DeWine. The son of U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine is widely assumed to aspire to higher office, although he dodges such speculation.

Cindi Andrews

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