Monday, March 15, 2004

Colerain GOP ousts member


Trustee Diana Rielage's support for a Democrat cited

By Reid Forgrave
The Cincinnati Enquirer

COLERAIN TWP. - The local Republican club ousted one of its own in what party leaders say may be the first time a sitting township trustee lost membership in the party that endorsed her.

Citing lack of party loyalty, members of the Colerain Township Republican Club voted this month to not renew the membership of Colerain Township trustee Diana Rielage, who supported Democrat Joe Woltermann in the 2003 trustee race against incumbent Republican trustee Keith Corman, who won.

Rielage said club president Bob McGill has held a grudge against her for years.

"It's kind of unbelievable, isn't it?" Rielage said last week. "They obviously didn't think I was a good enough Republican for their club. This all stems from me supporting one Democrat who I honestly thought was the best person for the job. Last time I looked, how I voted was my business."

Local Republicans said Rielage sways from the party line, doesn't participate in the local Republican club, and doesn't attend meetings. Rielage, who works as a dance teacher, says she typically has to teach dance classes on nights the club meets.

"Sometimes you have to clean house," said Daniel Deters of the 100-member Republican club. "We have a lot of people saying they're Republicans, but their actions don't support that."

Colerain Township trustee Bernie Fiedeldey, a Republican who was at last week's meeting, said Rielage's ouster won't affect township business but could come into play next election.

"What broke the camel's back is that she's an endorsed Republican taking money from the Republican party then turns right around and openly supports a Democratic candidate," Fiedeldey said. "This would be the same as vice-president Cheney going out and supporting John Kerry. When you get the endorsement of a particular party, you don't stab them in the back."

Rielage is up for re-election in 2005. She said she hasn't decided whether she'll run. Deters said he doubts Rielage will get their endorsement - and assumes the club will find another local Republican to run against her.

"This is what it boils down to: If the president of UAW drove a Hyundai to the office, they'd probably fire him," said club president McGill. "She's a fine person, but she's not a fine Republican. Maybe she's going to run as a Democrat next year. After all, she supported a Democrat."

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E-mail rforgrave@enquirer.com




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