Sunday, October 3, 2004

Clermont Co. Democrats rally

By Reid Forgrave
Enquirer staff writer

NEW RICHMOND - In the constant uphill battle that Democrats face in the Republican stronghold of southwest Ohio, few hills are steeper than those in Clermont County.

A Democrat has not held a partisan countywide position here since the early 1980s.

The county's Democrats tried to climb that hill Saturday with a rally at the bandstand in New Richmond featuring U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., and dozens of local candidates.

"The fact we pulled this off is a big deal in Clermont County," said Dave Lane, chairman of the Clermont County Democratic Party. "This is the first step in reviving our grass roots."

With dogs dressed in Kerry-Edwards garb and an Elvis impersonator crooning between speakers, more than 100 Democrats gathered near the Ohio River.

In recent years, Republicans have often run unopposed for Clermont County offices.

"It was a matter of not giving away another office without a fight," said Pete Strasser, who's attempting to unseat Mary Walker, the incumbent Republican county commissioner.

In more than a half-dozen county elections - including the sheriff and prosecuting attorney - Republicans are running unopposed. But Democrats have fielded candidates for common pleas clerk of courts, the county commission, and the domestic relations judgeship.

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