Friday, October 22, 2004

Commission race costliest

Portune/Grossmann lead spenders in Hamilton Co.

By Cindi Andrews
Enquirer staff writer

Election 2004 page
The most expensive race for a Hamilton County office is the commissioner's contest between Democratic incumbent Todd Portune and Republican David Grossmann, with the two men raising more than $541,000.

Grossmann, who outspent five Republicans in the March primary to get this shot at Portune, has now sunk $317,750 of his own money into his campaign, including primary expenses.

"This is a race, and it's a hard race," Grossmann said. "You don't win it by spending no money."

Portune, who had no primary opposition, has raised $288,312, compared to the $252,765 Grossmann has amassed for the general election.

All county candidates and political action committees turned in campaign finance reports Thursday detailing how much money they raised up to Oct. 13, from whom, and how they have spent it.

Attorney Stanley Chesley, who is representing commissioners in a federal lawsuit against the Bengals, was among Portune's biggest supporters, contributing $6,000. Talk-show host Jerry Springer gave $10,000 and Reds owner Carl Lindner gave $5,000.

Some of Grossmann's biggest contributions came from the county GOP ($10,000) and John Schiff, CEO of insurance giant Cincinnati Financial, $5,000.

The hands-down winner for most lopsided money race: Clerk of courts. Democrat Martha Good has raised $2,740, Republican Greg Hartmann $502,292. Hartmann's campaign chest is larger than any other Hamilton County candidate's.

Campaign money goes first to basics such as yard signs, fliers and postage, but the true desire of most candidates is to have enough left for TV commercials.

Portune has spent the most there so far, buying $151,000 worth of TV time. Hartmann, the chairman for Bush-Cheney campaign who was appointed clerk almost two years ago, is right behind him, spending $131,000.

Another unusually lively race is that for county coroner. Democrat O'dell Owens has spent $25,000 on TV ads out of the $87,000 he has raised. Republican incumbent Carl Parrott has collected less money - about $52,000 - and spent half as much on TV as his challenger.

Grossmann has spent $96,000 on TV but says there's more to come.


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