Thursday, February 26, 2004

Open state Senate seat tempts Republicans



By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

BATAVIA - One of the hottest March 2 primary races in the eastern part of Greater Cincinnati pits two high-profile Republicans for an Ohio Senate seat.

Jean Schmidt and Tom Niehaus are giving up the Ohio House seats they each have held for three years to make a run for the Senate.

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The 14th Senate District seat opened because incumbent Doug White, R-Manchester, is term-limited.

Schmidt representsthe 66th Ohio House District and Niehaus, the 88th District.

Niehaus says the biggest difference between them is that he voted against last year's penny-on-the-dollar state sales tax increase, while his opponent voted for it.

"Everyone understands we have to pay taxes if we want public services," Niehaus said. "But at some point, you have to say enough is enough."

Schmidt says she voted for the tax to avoid a devastating loss of services for the elderly, children and the low-income. She said state overspending has been going on for 40 years.

The 14th District includes Clermont, Brown, Adams, Scioto and the western part of Lawrence counties.

The district includes booming suburbs and struggling rural and Appalachian communities.

"It's imperative that we have a senator who understands the region," said Schmidt, who lives in Miami Township. "The whole region needs jobs. But each county is different. We have to know the economic conditions in each of them and understand why they're that way."

Niehaus, who lives in New Richmond, said his priorities would be changing the funding formula for public schools, creating more good-paying jobs, reforming the tax system to encourage small businesses, and to enable individuals to keep more of their incomes.

Other contested races affecting Clermont County include:

• 66th House District: Five Republicans are competing for the seat Schmidt is leaving:

Joseph Uecker, a Miami Township trustee for 14 years who is an administrator with the Clermont County engineer's office; Jeffrey Hardin, a loan officer who lives in Miami Township and had been a county clerk-treasurer in northeastern Ohio; Carl Dorsch, a former Union Township trustee who is a self-employed technical writer; Donovan Donohoo Sr., a retired CPA who lives in Miami Township and has been a lobbyist for the Ohio Society of CPAs; and Mark Daniels, pastor of Friendship Lutheran Church in Pierce Township and a resident of Clermont's Union Township.

• 88th House District: Three Republicans are seeking the seat Niehaus is leaving:

Curt Carl Hartman, an attorney and a Pierce Township trustee; Harry Cooper Snyder, a Stonelick Township resident who is Highland County economic development director; andDanny Bubp, a West Union attorney and former judge in Adams County.

Contested county offices are:

• Recorder - Republican incumbent Carolyn Green is being challenged by Deborah Clepper, a Batavia Township trustee.

• Coroner - Republican incumbent Brian Treon, a hospital emergency room physician who lives in Miami Township, and Raymond Lee Davidson, a retired physician who lives in Union Township, are seeking the GOP nomination.

E-mail skemme@enquirer.com




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