Wednesday, May 19, 2004

It'll be Davis vs. Clooney

Business consultant easily wins primary

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

HEBRON - Despite blistering attacks on his character, Geoff Davis won an easy victory in Tuesday's 4th Congressional District primary over Kevin Murphy and Kelly King.

Davis, a Boone County business consultant who ran unsuccessfully for the seat two years ago, now faces Nick Clooney, an Augusta Democrat and longtime local media personality, in the fall.

During his victory speech at the Airport Marriott Hotel, Davis - who tallied 13,837 votes, far ahead of second-place Murphy's 7,634 - termed the upcoming race as "substance over style." It was a reference not just to Clooney's local fame but to his son, actor George Clooney.

"We face a great challenge in the fall. Our opponent is raising Hollywood money by the truckloads," Davis said to a pronounced chorus of booing from his supporters. "There is no doubt that he will be well-funded.

"But so will we," Davis said as the boos turned to cheers. "He will run an aggressive campaign. But so will we. He will work hard, and he'll be a tireless campaigner. But so will we."

Clooney, at his Fort Mitchell campaign headquarters after a day of campaigning in five of the district's 24 counties, would not be drawn into the fight. At least not yet.

"This is Geoff Davis' night," he said. "He won, and he did it in fine fashion. But I'm used to swimming with sharks. They don't scare me.

"I don't want to point fingers in this campaign, I just want to listen to people and then tell them how I want to try to fix their problems. We need to stop the sniping, and the one with the best argument wins."

Murphy proved to be an adept, aggressive and ferocious campaigner. He dogged Davis on the campaign trail, continually bringing up allegations that Davis broke federal campaign finance laws by laundering political action committee contributions into his campaign fund and by not paying business taxes he owed in Boone County.

Davis denied Murphy's allegations and said the charges were part of a "smear campaign" designed to discredit his candidacy and reputation.

Davis fired back with a tough mailer sent to Republicans just before Tuesday's vote. It said of Murphy, "He's mean, he's liberal, he's deceptive."

In a concession speech at the Airport Radisson Hotel, Murphy told supporters: "I am proud of the causes for which we fought. And though I may have come up short in the vote count today, I am proud and humbled by the selfless dedication" of supporters.

"We fought an uphill battle," he said. "Not for me, but for a set of ideals that I know will long endure."


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