Saturday, January 31, 2004

Bush backers chosen for convention



By Carl Weiser
Enquirer Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON - A little more than a dozen Cincinnati-area Republicans will get the political equivalent of Super Bowl tickets: delegate slots at the Republican National Convention this fall.

"I'm excited to be going," said Dee Gettler of Mount Adams, whose husband Ben is chairman of Vulcan Corp. "I think it's important to show support for the president in these very, very difficult times."

"It's an honor," said West Chester developer Carlos Todd, a former chairman of the Butler County GOP. "I've never been before."

With President Bush uncontested for the nomination, the state party and the Bush campaign selected the state's 179 delegates and alternates. The convention will be Aug. 30 to Sept. 2 in New York City. The list was filed at the Ohio Secretary of State's office this month.

Those on the list include donors to the campaign, prominent Republicans, and longtime GOP toilers.

"You look at their activism, their biography," state party Chairman Robert Bennett said Friday. "Most of these people are very active at the local level."

Those named will have to shell out more than $1,000 for hotel rooms and air fare.

Delegates get to vote on the party platform and schmooze with politicos. For delegates with aspirations to public office, the national convention is a prime opportunity to network and lay the groundwork for a campaign.

"In my case, it's the ideals of the party that I'm more interested in promoting. I'm not interested in promoting myself as a candidate for anything," said 75-year-old Eileen Ford Simon of Montgomery, who is Hamilton County party chairwoman. "I represent the little old ladies in tennis shoes."

In every election year, the state Democratic and Republican parties get to pick some delegates.

But when politicians are fighting for the nomination, whether delegates get to go depends on the primary. That's what will happen for Democratic candidates whose delegates will depend on Ohio's March 2 primary results.

When the nomination is uncontested, the campaign and the party choose the entire slate. Starting last summer, people who wanted to go sent in resumes and filled out an application - 500 or 600 people in all - Bennett said.

The delegation has to be evenly divided between men and women. Some are chosen automatically. Bennett gets to go, as does Gov. Bob Taft and Lt. Gov. Jennette Bradley, first lady Hope Taft, and top office holders such as Attorney General James Petro, Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, and Auditor Betty Montgomery.

Others going from Cincinnati include these Republicans

Michael Barrett, Hamilton County GOP party chairman

Mike Allen, Hamilton County prosecutor

Mary Sullivan, Ohio elections commissioner

Bruce A. Taylor, a member of the state party's central committee and an assistant prosecutor

Concepcion Reyna of West Chester, a local volunteer and party worker

Mary Law, former Butler County treasurer

Lawyer H.C. 'Buck' Niehoff

Richard Finan, former Ohio Senate president

Douglass Edward Corn, Bush campaign fund-raiser

Ron Beshear, Bush campaign fund-raiser

Tom Grossman, Mason councilman and Warren County co-chairman

Alternates:

Pakkiri Rajagopal, director of community service for Hamilton County

State Rep. Patricia Clancy of Colerain Township

Gwendolyn Dacons-Taylor of Cincinnati

Clermont County auditor Linda Fraley of Batavia

Gregory Hartmann, Hamilton County clerk of courts




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