Saturday, May 15, 2004

Ohio Democrats pick Springer as delegate

By Carl Weiser
Enquirer Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON - Ohio Democrats on Friday named one unconventional delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Boston.

Talk-show host and former Cincinnati Mayor Jerry Springer - or as state Republicans call him, "TV's top smut peddler" - will be an at-large delegate to the July 26-29 convention at which Sen. John Kerry is expected to be nominated for president.

Springer, who was selected by state party leaders, will be one of 159 delegates and 24 alternates from Ohio.

"He's made 50 appearances at Democratic events this year. He's been an outspoken advocate for the party," said Dan Trevas, spokesman for the Ohio Democratic Party. Just last weekend the party named Springer Democrat of the Year.

Springer's show, which even he calls stupid, features "Twisted Love" Friday and on Monday returns with "Bizarre Stories." ("Connie cannot stand her brother Bo's lack of good hygiene," reads the Monday show's description.)

The Ohio spokeswoman for Kerry's campaign, Jennifer Palmieri, said: "We welcome all delegates."

State Republicans said Springer's status shows how low the Democrats have sunk.

"They ought to be absolutely embarrassed and ashamed of this guy, but obviously standards take a back seat to power in the party of Bill Clinton," said Ohio Republican chairman Robert T. Bennett.

Springer, 60, is considering running in 2006 either for Ohio governor, when the seat will be open, or for the Senate, against Republican incumbent Mike DeWine.

He decided against running this year against Sen. George Voinovich.

Springer recently moved back to Cincinnati and is living downtown, he said.

Contributing: Gregory Korte in Cincinnati

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