Winburn: 'Some may call it theatrics'
GOP mayoral candidate Charlie Winburn is starting to get diminishing results from his frequent news conferences/photo-ops/theatrics.
He got good turnout by the television stations at the first two, announcing his candidacy (June 16) and proposing a new jail (July 13). The last two, to discuss guns (July 21) and drugs (Thursday), have been less well attended.
(And, for the record, GOP council candidate Leslie Ghiz is now 0-for-4 in her attendance at Winburn functions.)
"I'm going to keep having these press conferences as long as the media shows up, and as long as you show up," Winburn said Thursday at the Vernon Manor Hotel, addressing the 75 or so supporters and the one Cincinnati Enquirer reporter in the room.
"We started in this race late, and we have to do all we can to get the message out," he said. "Some may call it theatrics. Some may call it a show. But I call it leadership in campaigning."
Thursday's show: Winburn released the results of his recent drug test, showing his bloodstream is free of speed, uppers, downers, Valium, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, alcohol, methodone, PCP, and prescription pain killers. He stood next to a giant poster-sized reproduction of his test results and challenged his opponents to do the same.
Hamilton County GOP executive director Brent Sanders, trying to drum up media interest in the story the day before, told reporters he wouldn't be surprised to see Winburn bring in his specimen jar as a prop.
All this has candidates like Democratic state Sen. Mark L. Mallory befuddled. By responding to Winburn's weekly attention-grabbers, Mallory worries that he'll become complicit in dragging the race down to the level of the "circus-like council campaigns of the past."
"If I'm living in a crime-ridden neighborhood in the city of Cincinnati -- which by the way I am -- I'm not concerned with the kinds of things Winburn is talking about," Mallory said.
Winburn made no apologies for his campaign style, but promised that he would give the media a few weeks off before making his next major announcement.
For other candidates trying to keep up, here's some advice: Make sure your tax returns are in order.
(Photo by Saed Hindash/The Cincinnati Enquirer)