By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Two Republicans spent two-thirds of a million dollars beating each other up in a primary election for Hamilton County commissioner last month, according to campaign finance reports filed Friday.
The $669,609 spent in Cincinnati Councilman Pat DeWine's successful challenge to Hamilton County Commissioner John Dowlin nearly matches the $756,000 spent in 2000 in a hotly contested general election for commissioner.
DeWine spent $468,398 - more than twice as much as Dowlin - in a messy intraparty conflict that spilled onto TV. Dowlin got just 31 percent of the vote after running a commercial saying DeWine left his wife for another woman.
DeWine, son of U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine, received large contributions from people and political actions committees outside Hamilton County. One of the largest sums - $10,000 - came from Donzell Taylor, president of Akron-based Welty Building Co. and husband of Republican state Rep. Mary Taylor.
"We have been very longstanding supporters of his father, and this is something that is very important to him," Donzell Taylor said.
Dowlin received $1,000 from Bengals attorney Stuart Dornette and at least $1,500 from other attorneys in Dornette's law firm, Taft Stettinius & Hollister, his campaign finance report states. Former Commissioner Bob Bedinghaus also gave $500.
Dowlin was a critic of raising the county sales tax to build Paul Brown Stadium but has recently opposed the other two commissioners' decision to sue the Bengals over its construction and lease.
Dowlin and DeWine each received $15,000 from financier Carl Lindner. Each also loaned himself money - DeWine $125,000 and Dowlin $25,500.
The primary race for a second commissioner's seat was more crowded but less costly than the Dowlin-DeWine match up. The five Republicans spent $269,863, with winner David Grossmann, a retired juvenile court judge from Springfield Township, accounting for more than half of the total. Grossmann loaned himself $150,000 of the $164,478 he spent on television ads and other expenses.
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