Thursday, March 25, 2004

Calling all Butler County Democrats: Run this race

By John Kiesewetter
The Cincinnati Enquirer

HAMILTON - Wanted: A Butler County Democrat to challenge former Democrat Greg Jolivette for his new County Commission seat.

Democrats are looking for an ambitious volunteer to run in the Nov. 2 election against former state legislator Jolivette, who swapped jobs in January with Commissioner Courtney Combs.

Already "a couple" Democrats have talked to Dan Gattermeyer, county Democratic Party chairman, about entering the race. Gattermeyer would not name them.

Butler County Republicans, who control all countywide elected offices and statehouse seats in Butler County, engineered the job switch to avoid a primary fight between Commissioner Michael A. Fox, an incumbent Republican, and Jolivette, who was asked by party leaders to run against Fox.

Gattermeyer said many county residents are unhappy that they didn't get to vote on their newest commissioner and legislator.

"I think it has left a bad taste in people's mouths," he said.

"If you just have one party making all the decisions in government, you always wonder: Is it politics or good government? We're hoping to change that," said Gattermeyer, former county prosecutor.

Because more than two years remained on Combs' unexpired term, Jolivette must appear on the November ballot along with Republicans Chuck Furmon and Fox.

Democrats may appoint a nominee in the race by Aug. 25.

Any Democrat interested in running should send a letter and resume by May 28 to the Butler County Democratic Party Executive Council, 222 High St., P.O. Box 701, Hamilton, 45012.

Executive council members will interview candidates and make a recommendation to the party on June 17, he said.

"We want to get it settled by then so the person can campaign all summer," Gattermeyer said.

Fox has two opponents in November: West Chester Township Trustee Catherine Stoker, a Democrat, and former Fairfield City Council member J. Michael Best, a Republican running as an independent. Furmon faces James Lubbers, a Fairfield Township resident who owns a heating and air-conditioning company.


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