Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Why did primary ads run against unopposed rep?

Around the suburbs

Amid the flurry of political commercials in the final days before Hamilton County's primary last week, one didn't fit.

The Committee to Protect Ohioans ran a spot against state Rep. Bill Seitz, a Green Township Republican. It blamed "tax-hike Bill" for voting for the largest tax increase in state history, among other charges.

"Yes, I did vote for the state budget bill that contained a two-year, one-cent sales tax increase," Seitz responds. "But I did so only after the Senate and governor rejected the House budget amendment I passed" that would have ended the tax hike a year early.

Seitz had no opposition in his March 2 primary. So what was the point?

Officials with the Cleveland-area Committee to Protect Ohioans did not return a call seeking comment Tuesday. However, the group includes attorneys for asbestos victims who are mad about new restrictions on civil lawsuits.

The restrictions were backed by Seitz and House Speaker Larry Householder, the first target of the Committee to Protect Ohioans, among others.

Cindi Andrews

NEIN FOR THREE: State Sen. Scott Nein, R-Middletown, who loses his legislative seat to term limits this year, has his eye on a position closer to home - chairman of the policy-making Butler County Republican Party Central Committee.

Nein and Quentin Nichols, the party's West Chester regional chairman, are both interested in the job currently held by Judy Shelton, wife of Hamilton City Council member Ed Shelton.

Nein stops short of saying he's actively pursuing the post: "I am very interested in being highly encouraged to run for Central Committee chair."

Carlos Todd, who retired as party chairman in 2001 after 10 years, announced last month that he wants to be executive committee chairman.

John Kiesewetter

NEVER TOO SOON? Usually it's the challenger who does the challenging but Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune just couldn't wait.

The Democrat, up for re-election this year, has sent Republican opponent David Grossmann a letter seeking a debate March 20.

Yes, for the Nov. 2 election.

Grossmann, a retired Juvenile Court judge who beat four others for the GOP nomination last week, hasn't decided whether to take Portune up on the challenge.

Cindi Andrews

ROUND TWO: While most political insiders aren't elaborating on what last week's countywide and precinct elections could mean for the Warren County Republican party, it could mean that the dual chairmanship of the executive committee will continue.

At least that's the recommended outcome from current Co-Chair Tom Grossmann.

"I have always favored inclusion," the Mason councilman said. "I do not favor excluding anyone. ... I want to avoid as much as possible anything that would detract us from unity, especially in a year when we are electing a president."

The county's Republican organization meeting is expected to be held March 30.

Erica Solvig

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