Wednesday, March 3, 2004

'New voice' win defies convention



By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

COMPLETE COVERAGE
Cincinnati.com Special Election Coverage
Hamilton County Republicans went with a new voice instead of the voice of experience Tuesday in picking Pat DeWine over incumbent county Commissioner John Dowlin.

"People want to talk about taxes and spending - that's what they care about," DeWine said as he sailed to victory Tuesday.

DeWine, currently a Cincinnati city councilman, beat fellow Republican Dowlin by more than 2-to-1.

DeWine was criticized by many local officeholders for challenging an incumbent of his own party. Voters, however, made clear Tuesday that they care more about the message than party etiquette.

"I think Dowlin has served his time well, but it's time for a change," Martha Peters, 90, of Green Township said after voting.

The 74-year-old Dowlin was county commissioner for 13 years and, before that, mayor of Sharonville for 27 years. He is retired from Procter & Gamble. After winning re-election in 2000, he announced plans to retire - but changed his mind last summer.

"I am the voice of experience," he said in a campaign stop.

DeWine is the 36-year-old son of U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine. A lawyer, he lives in Pleasant Ridge.

DeWine ran an aggressive campaign that criticized the county's tax burden as too high and accused Dowlin of spending too much time and money on county business out of town.

Despite Tuesday's vote, Dowlin will remain a commissioner and DeWine a councilman - at least until January. DeWine still must survive a general election - historically not a problem for Republicans.

However, it's not clear whom he'll face because the Democratic nominee, Erich Streckfuss of Westwood, is a placeholder for a higher-profile candidate to be named later. Streckfuss beat Kabaka Oba of Lincoln Heights, 63 percent to 37 percent.

County Democratic co-chairman Tim Burke remains hopeful that Forest Park Mayor Stephanie Dumas will be the candidate, he said Tuesday night.

Reporters Gregory Korte and Jennifer Edwards contributed. E-mail candrews@enquirer.com




PRIMARY 2004
Cincinnati.com Special Election Section
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