Politics Extra
Enquirer reporters give the scoop on what your politicians are doing

Jessica Brown,
Hamilton County reporter

Jon Craig,
Enquirer statehouse bureau

Jane Prendergast,
Cincinnati City Hall reporter

Malia Rulon,
Enquirer Washington bureau

Carl Weiser,
Blog editor

Howard Wilkinson,
politics reporter

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Friday, January 04, 2008

State senator reports from Iowa

Ohio state Sen. Gary Cates, R-West Chester, spent last night in a high school cafeteria in Bettendorf, Iowa, speaking in front of 200 voters on behalf of former Arkanas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a GOP presidential frontrunner.

"I was given three minutes and so I basically took the opportunity to explain the fact that I had driven over 400 miles to be there that night because I share a lot of values with Huckabee and I think he's the best qualified for the position," said Cates, who drove up to Iowa on Wednesday.

Cates was driving back to Ohio today when The Enquirer reached him via cell phone.

Cates said former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., was at the same meeting - speaking on behalf of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

"It was a very polite meeting. You had people come in there, some had stickers on for McCain, some for Huckabee, some for Romney. There was no confrontation," Cates said.

"It was very refreshing to see grassroots politics at its best."

Although Romney won both GOP precincts caucusing at the Bettendorf high school, Huckabee came out on top in the overall Iowa caucuses.

Romney files

From the Mitt Romney for President campaign:

Today, Governor Mitt Romney announced that he has submitted the necessary delegate petitions to be placed on Ohio's March 4 presidential primary ballot. The campaign also filed a slate of delegates with the Ohio Republican Party.

Upon filing, State Senator Kevin Coughlin released the following statement:

"Governor Romney's vision, values, and experience make him the best choice for Ohio voters. As the people of Ohio learn more about his achievements, I am convinced that they will agree. He is the right candidate to win this critical November battleground state."

Ohio requires at least 3,800 petition signatures collected from across the state in order to appear on the Presidential ballot. The Romney campaign submitted more than 7,800.

Dem, GOP strike deal - sorry, voters

Howard Wilkinson and Sherry Coolidge have the story here

The choice for Hamilton County voters for the two county commission seats up for election this year will be no choice at all, thanks to an unprecedented last-minute deal between the county’s Republican and Democratic parties.

Republican sources say that Democrat county commissioner Todd Portune will have no Republican-endorsed opponent this fall; and that the Republicans’ choice to replace Pat DeWine as county commissioner, current clerk of courts Greg Hartmann, will be given a free pass by the Democrats.

GOP cancels 2 pm press conference


The Hamilton County Republican Party has cancelled today’s 2:00 pm press conference. The press conference had been scheduled to announce a Republican endorsed candidate to run against County Commissioner Todd Portune. At this time, the Republican Party has decided not to endorse in the race.

Portune filing at 11 am

From the Todd Portune campaign:

Portune to File for Re-Election Today at 11:00 am

Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune will present and file his candidate’s petitions for the office of Hamilton County Commissioner today at 11:00 a.m. at the Hamilton County Board of Elections.

Portune begins the campaign this year with an almost 62% approval rating and having raised over $130,000 in campaign funds during 2007.

Portune, who turns 50 this August, has twice been elected County Commissioner after serving four full terms as a Cincinnati City Council Member. Portune is the current President of the Board of County Commissioners and is expected to be re-elected to that position next week by his colleagues on the Board. Portune will outline an aggressive agenda for 2008 that continues the progress made at securing the county’s financial stability, promoting public safety and criminal justice reforms, and enhancing the quality of life for all county residents in all county communities.

Todd Portune was first elected county commissioner in 2000 with 175,000 votes defeating incumbent Bob Bedinghaus. He won re-election in a landslide in 2004 with over 230,000 votes representing almost 60% of the vote against former Juvenile Court Judge David Grossmann.

Meanwhile, in New Hampshire

Wyoming resident and NKU prof Cady Short-Thompson continues her blogging from the Next Big One.

Some highlights:

The event began with an Iraq War Veteran leading the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by Senator McCain’s authentic, meaningful recognition of the veterans in the room. Many political candidates recognize the vets at such events but when McCain does so, there is a real admiration and reciprocal respect that surfaces in the room.

When NH voters talk about McCain, they often note his military service and heroic record. After his speech, audience members praised McCain’s thorough responses to audience questions, his tremendous wit, and his speaking skills. I did, overhear several audience members quietly inquire about the age of the candidate. Like anyone, McCain does look older than in 2000.

McCain impressed and amused the crowd, receiving four standing ovations, multiple applause points, and much laughter. The affable candidate joked and smirked in ways that delighted the New Hampshire voters.

Rhetorically speaking, Senator McCain utilizes a number of strategies to appeal to voters on an emotional level. Humorous, passionate, peer tone (saying “my friends” 18 times and often saying we instead of I), full of personality and patriotic appeals, McCain led his audience to feel. Emotional appeals can be very powerful and persuasive in campaigns.

Read the full dispatch here

Republicans galore

It looks like more than a fair share of Republicans will be jockeying for congressional and general assembly seats in March. According to the Hamilton County Board of Elections, as of Thursday:

-Three Republicans were planning to challenge Republican Jean Schmidt for her 2nd Congressional District seat. Tom Brinkman, Phil Heimlich and Nathan W. Bailey. So far only Victoria Wulsin has filed on the Democratic side.

-Two Republicans are facing off so far for the 30th district race for state representative: Richard Hammersmith and Bob Mecklenborg. The winner would likely face Democrat Bob Klug.

-In the 34th district, three Republicans have filed: Greg Delev, Russ Jackson and Peter Stautberg. Only one Democrat: Jeff Sinnard.

-And in the 35th district, it's become a three-way Republican race between Grace Kendrick, Ron Maag and John Rabenold. No Democrats have filed yet.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Harris in, Winburn out, surprise coming Friday

Democrat Greg Harris says he will, indeed file Friday morning to run for Hamilton County Commissioner Pat DeWine's seat. DeWine isn't seeking re-election, running instead for Common Pleas Court judge, so Harris will go up against Republican Greg Hartmann, who currently serves as Hamilton County Clerk of Courts.

Harris expressed hesitation about the race Thursday citing a potential conflict of interest because he sits on a governor workforce development board. But late in the day he confirmed he is, indeed running. If elected, he'll work out the conflict then.

In the meantime, former City Council Candidate Charlie Winburn, who'd taken out petitions to run as a Republican for Hamilton County Commission confirmed he will not follow through. Winburn said instead, he's decided to throw "100 percent of my support" behind Republican Hartmann for the seat. Winburn isn't done with politics though. He says he plans to run for city council again in 2010.

And the Hamilton County Republican Party will hold a press conference at 2 p.m. to announce their endorsed candidate to run against Democratic Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune. The party's won't give any hints, but says it's not Ed Rothenberg, the jail tax opponent who has already filed as a Republican opponent against Portune. Portune plans to file for re-election Friday as well. The Enquirer will have a full wrap up after the 4 p.m. deadline.

Rabenold seeks Schneider's House seat

Republican John Rabenold officially announced his candidacy for Ohio's 35th House district today submitting the required signature petitions with the Hamilton County Board of Elections.

Term limits prevent incumbent Republican Michelle Schneider of Madeira from seeking another term.

"Southwest Ohio is my home and I care about this community," Rabenold said in a news statement. "When exploring a potential candidacy with family, friends, business and civic leaders in Hamilton and Warren counties, I received tremendous support for my agenda based on family values, fiscal responsibility and social conservatism."

"I'm concerned about the direction Ohio is headed. Our tax burden is among the nation's highest, economic growth is poor and government's reach is too intrusive. With my experience, I am committed to relieving the onerous tax burden on taxpayers, improving the economic climate to improve job opportunities, protecting the rights of gun owners and speaking up for innocent children."

Rabenold served on the staff of former Ohio Senate Presidents Richard H. Finan and Stanley J. Aronoff from 1991 to 1999. Since 1999, Rabenold has served as an executive with Mason-based CNG Financial Corp. and founded Corporate Strategies Consulting in 2007 where he is president.

Rabenold is incoming vice president of the North East Hamilton County Republican Club, a member of Warren County's Republican Party's Century Club, a volunteer for numerous Republican candidates, and active in the Indian Hill Episcopalian – Presbyterian Church and various charitable organizations.

He lives in Indian Hill where he and his wife, Beth, are raising two children. He is a graduate of Indian Hill High School and Ohio State University.

The 35th House District includes about 110,000 people in Hamilton and Warren counties. The job pays $60,584-a-year.


Fred files

From the Thompson campaign
First Republican Candidate to file for Ohio Primary

COLUMBUS, Ohio, January 3, 2008 – Today the Ohio Fred Thompson campaign filed the necessary petitions and signatures with the Secretary of State to place Senator Thompson on the ballot for Ohio’s Republican primary on March 4, 2008.

Senator Thompson was the first Republican candidate to file all of his petitions around the state and with the Secretary of State.

“Our delegates and volunteers did an amazing job of collecting over 3,000 signatures across Ohio. You need 1,000 valid Republican signatures, but we actually had to put petitions to the side to get under the maximum limit of 3,000 signatures. The vast majority of this work was completed in just 10 days in early December. We gathered signatures from 47 different counties. The response to Senator Thompson’s campaign has been unbelievable,” said Thompson’s Ohio Coordinator Darrin Klinger, former Executive Director of “Bush-Cheney 04” for the state of Ohio.

This statewide filing completes a whirlwind tour of the state in which the Thompson campaign filed petitions in Ohio’s 18 congressional districts.

Looks like Wulsin supports "recycling"

If you tune in tonight to watch the Iowa caucus results (because, you know, what else would you watch?!) pay attention because you might see Democrat Victoria Wulsin's "new" TV ad.

Except it's not really totally "new." Turns out the ad uses video from an old Wulsin ad that ran in 2006. But it has a "new" audio track, some new images and a new message. As her campaign spokesman Josh Levin put it in an e-mail, "It's a new cut."

"We wanted to capture the caucus-night audience, and were able to put this together quickly," he explained.

Hey, no sweat. We all support recycling. And it makes sense: Wulsin is running in the same district against (likely) the same opponent. (Although that could be like wearing the same dress to the same party two years in a row... Not that we notice these kinds of things...)

Wulsin is running in the 2nd Congressional District, where she could once again challenge Republican Rep. Jean Schmidt. (Schmidt faces two GOP challengers in the primary - Phil Heimlich and Tom Brinkman.)

Back to her ad.

It's called "Pledge" and it's about health care. Basically, Wulsin is pledging to refuse the health care plan offered to members of Congress until Congress "does its job and passes affordable health care for all."

Wulsin’s pledge takes after a similar one that Gov. Ted Strickland made when he first ran
for Congress in 1992. While he was in Congress, Strickland mailed a check every month to the U.S. Treasury to pay for his health coverage. In the ad, Wulsin promises to do the same.

Watch her "new" ad HERE.

And don't miss the "old" ad HERE.

Iowa ain't Ohio

Gov. Ted Strickland is getting some flack for saying in The Columbus Dispatch last weekend that it "makes no sense" to allow Iowa the right to hold the first presidential contest.

He called today's caucuses "hugely undemocratic" because the process "excludes so many people."

Does Iowa exclude people?

Here's a look at how Iowa compares to the nation as a whole – and to Ohio:

Percentage of white residents:
- United States: 73.9%
- Iowa: 93%
- Ohio: 84%

Percentage of Hispanic residents:
- United States: 14.8%
- Iowa: 3.8%
- Ohio: 2.3%

Percentage of black residents:
- United States: 12.4%
- Iowa: 2.3%
- Ohio: 11.8%

Percentage of Asian residents:
- United States: 4.4%
- Iowa: 1.5%
- Ohio: 1.5%

Source: 2006 American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau.

State senator headed to Iowa

Ohio state Sen. Gary Cates of West Chester e-mailed us very early this morning that he was heading up to Iowa today to help Republican Mike Huckabee at the caucuses.

We haven't heard back on what Cates is doing, but we'll update this post when we do.

In case you missed it, HERE is a story about other locals in Iowa today. And HERE is some information about what a caucus is and how it works.

Brunner - offer paper ballots

Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner stopped at the Enquirer today.

Oops. I may have a conflict

It looks like there may be a problem with Greg Harris' candidacy for Commissioner Pat DeWine's seat.

Harris said today he may have a conflict of interest because he sits on the Governor's Workforce Policy Board.

Harris says it may be a conflict of interest because on the Governor’s board, he can help funnel money to Ohio counties, including Hamilton County. If elected commissioner, that could be seen as a conflict.

“I could be seen as funneling disproportionate resources to the county I represent,” he said.
He’s checking with Governor Ted Strickland’s office to get an opinion on the issue.

“I’m pretty sure Strickland’s office will say if you run for commissioner you have to give up your seat on the board.”

Harris is meeting with the Democratic Party later today to talk about the potential conflict and decide whether the party should have a backup candidate in case Harris doesn't run.
"If there is a conflict, I don't know if I would be willing to give that board seat up because it allows me to effect positive change on issues I'm passionate about," said Harris in an e-mail.

If he doesn't run, that would put the Dems in the position of having to find a viable candidate to run against Greg Hartmann, and getting the 50 needed signatures in less than a day. That's probably not too difficult a feat, though, since tons of Democrats will be in one place for the caucuses tonight.

Report from New Hampshire

Cady Short-Thompson of Wyoming is in New Hampshire, as part of a once-every-four-years academic project.
She'll be filing reports on her trip. Some highlights from her first dispatch:

Of all of the headquarter visits thus far, our most favorable impressions were of Senator Obama’s campaign office in Manchester. Well populated by over a hundred volunteers and staffers all busily working on campaign communication activities, the energy in the large, packed office was palpable. We noted that there was an energetic and youthful buzz about the whole office, with signs and walls painted with motivational appeals (Believe, Hope, Change, etc) and campaign slogans, nearing the level of a social movement. Moreover, of six campaign offices we visited, Obama’s was the only headquarters with a fully formulated, specific, detailed travel schedule in place for the next several days...

The single campaign event near Manchester on January 2, 2008 was a rally for Rudy Giuliani at the American Legion in Hooksett. With most candidates campaigning frenetically in a last push in Iowa, New Hampshire was quiet this evening. Being the beginning of the last week before the New Hampshire primary and on the eve of the Iowa caucus, we found New Hampshire voters ready and eager for the big show to begin. On this single digit frigid evening, nearly 200 people crammed into the American Legion hall to hear Giuliani. Perhaps interestingly to Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky residents, the norm at the events in New Hampshire is for the voters to be numerically matched by or outnumbered by the media, in some cases dramatically so. With most of the media masses still in Iowa or in transit to New Hampshire, there were twice as many voters as media personnel, a circumstance that will be radically changed by tomorrow.

Read the full dispatch here

Brinkman filing this morning

From Brinkman for Congress

Cincinnati, OH - State Representative Tom Brinkman will file his petitions today at 11:00a.m. at the Hamilton County Board of Elections. Tom plans to make a statement to the media and will answer questions as to why he is the right choice to represent the people of our district.

DeWine running for judge, Hartmann for commission

Commissioner Pat DeWine announced he will not seek re-election to county commission. Instead, he's setting his sights on a Common Pleas Court judgeship. We have the story here.

DeWine says he is changing his political path for "personal and professional" reasons. Read his statement here.

Now, Clerk of Courts Greg Hartmann is expected to run on the Republican ticket for DeWine's commission seat and former Senator Patricia Clancy, also a Republican, will take a shot at the Hartmann's clerk of courts seat.

The Democrats say the Republicans decided to play "musical chairs" with the race because DeWine's polling was bad. The GOP disagrees, claiming DeWine would have been easily re-elected.

Now, though, the Democrats have about a day and a half to figure out who to run against DeWine, Hartmann and Clancy in light of this shake up. They still plan to put Democrat Greg Harris, fresh off an unsuccessful City Council bid, up for the county commission seat.

Here's what Harris had to say about the shake up and the upcoming race:

"This musical chairs may be understandable. Its politics, but Greg Hartmann is going to have to make a more compelling case," he said. "I’m going to put out some pretty strong policy statements on how we can reinvent county government and revolutionize public safety in the county and create a workforce education guarantee for every citizen in aHamilton County and not only how to do it but how to fund it where to get the money. I’m going to offer a pretty compelling vision for Hamilton County going into the 21st century and invite (Hartmann) to present his own vision It's not just going to be about Republican musical chairs, but you’ve got to put ideas on the table and I look forward to doing it."

Hartmann is holding an 11 a.m. press conference to announce his candidacy.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Denise Driehaus officially in

Denise Driehaus officially announced her candidacy today as a Democrat running for the 31st House District seat held by her brother, Steve, who is running for the 1st Congressional District seat.

She filed her candidacy paperwork at the Hamilton County Board of Elections.

Driehaus, a lifelong resident of the West Side, currently resides in West Price Hill where she and her husband, Zeek Childers, co-own two businesses -- the Front Porch Coffeehouse and Philipps Swim Club.

Driehaus is president of the Cincinnati Recreation Commission where she has served as a board member for the past 16 years. She also is on the board of the Price Hill Civic Club and is a founding member and the vice president of the West Price Hill Merchant's Association.

Driehaus, a graduate of Miami University, has two children, Sarah and Andrew Childers.

The 31st District includes about 110,000 residents of western Cincinnati including Camp Washington, Sayler Park, South Fairmount, Price Hill, Westwood, and Addyston, Cheviot, Cleves and North Bend. The annual base salary is $60,584.

Scott Gehring plans to run as a Republican candidate in the 31st District.

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Obama-mania hits Secretary of State's office

Jon Craig reports from Columbus:

More than 30 supporters of Barack Obama for president jammed the lobby of the Secretary of State's Office today as Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman filed a declaration of candidacy and petition signed by about 3,000 registered voters.

At least 1,000 valid signatures from voters affiliated with the Democratic Party are needed to place Obama's name on the March 4 primary ballot in Ohio.

Coleman and Sen. Eric Kearney, D-North Avondale, were among the speakers during today's mini rally.

Supporters held red, white and blue signs that read "OH - IO - WA," while chanting a variation on the Ohio State Buckeye cheer, that ended "Barack Obama All the Way."

Kearney said, "I know that Barack is going to win in Iowa, he's going to win in New Hampshire, he's going to win in Nevada, he's going to win in South Carolina. He's also going to win in Ohio."
Obama has been to Ohio at least five times. The Illinois senator's wife has been here three times.

"We're going to get the job done,'' Coleman said as he handed in a file folder with signatures.

"We're excited about this candidacy for Barack Obama, because what it represents is change in America. It represents a new generation of leadership. . .This is representative of the beginnings of an organization in the state of Ohio. All of us coming together, united, in who we believe will be the next president of the United States. We're very much excited about what is going to happen tomorrow in Iowa. The march to the presidency begins through Iowa. . .But we know in the General Election, Ohio is always the battleground state for the entire nation."

Look who's talking - and then not.

Ben Fischer reports:

Before the Christmas/New Year's holiday break season, the Enquirer had a particularly enlightening exchange with Cincinnati schools Superintendent Rosa Blackwell.

On Dec. 19, CPS called a media conference to brag about the district's six new nationally board certified teachers, people who had spent more than a year pursuing the demanding certification. CPS is by far the state's leader in total number of faculty who've earned the prestigious distinction.

A beaming Blackwell went on at length about the teachers' considerable accomplishment, and graciously answered numerous questions from the only reporter who asked them. It was a rare moment of accommodation to the media for the reticent superintendent.

But as the media conference was ending, the same reporter approached Blackwell with a question about J.R. Carlisle, the principal for the School for Creative & Performing Arts, who is under investigation in Ft. Mitchell for an alleged rape.

CPS' response to the investigation has been to say little publicly, barely even acknowledging the accusation. Until the Enquirer broke the news of the accusation, SCPA parents had heard nothing officially about Carlisle, who had been on sick leave nearly two months.

The previously verbose Blackwell, who is the chief administrative officer for CPS turned on a dime once the topic turned away from the positive and to the potentially controversial.

"I would refer you to Janet Walsh," Blackwell said, directing the question to the district's chief P.R. woman. Blackwell earns $203820 per year, along with extensive fringe benefits, to oversee all CPS functions.

Iowa, Iowa, Iowa

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Connie's back

The landscape of southwest Ohio politics is littered with the carcasses of Democrats who have tried to break through the Republican lock on Ohio legislative seats in the suburban districts. Many have run once, gotten their indiviudual and collective clocks cleaned, and have disappeared beneath the waves, never to been heard from again.

Connie Pillich is not one of those.

Pillich - the former Air Force officer and attorney from Montgomery - came out of nowhere in 2006 to run an agressive, if underfunded, campaign to unseat State Rep. Jim Raussen, the Springdale Republican who was running for a third term in northern Hamilton County's 28th Ohio House District.

Pillich did better than expected, pulling in 48 percent of the vote in a reliably Republcan district. Her performance caught the attention of the party leadership, who encouraged her to run again.

Not that she needed much encouraging.

Wednesday morning, she files petitions to run again against Raussen, who is running for his last term, under Ohio's term limits law.

The Ohio Democratic Party plans a serious push in 2008 to win back the Ohio House after 14 years of GOP control. If there is a district in southwest Ohio that is likely to draw special attention from the Democratic party, it is probably this one.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Wulsin files petitions

Howard Wilkinson has the story here

Monday, December 31, 2007

Berding: We Need A Retreat

Cincinnati City Councilman Jeff Berding held a press conference today - a good day to do it, news-wise, because very little else is going on - to say that he'll be introducing a motion next week to mandate a retreat for council members, Mayor Mark Mallory and City Manager Milton Dohoney.

Berding says public safety and attracting new business would be among his top items to discuss for an "action agenda." City officials stopped having retreats about four years ago, he said, and shouldn't have. He'd like to see the retreat happen in the next couple of months, possibly as a birthday present for himself. (His birthday's Feb. 8)

"I want to go beyond talking about a good idea," he said. "I want to execute a good idea."

He says he already has started looking for the $2,000 or less needed to rent a location and hire a facilitator, that he wouldn't expect city money to cover it.

In council's last retreat in 2002, members went to Hueston Woods State Park outside of Oxford for two days. It was council's first retreats ince 1996. Two visions for the Cincinnati of 2020 were laid out: Cincinnati will stay true to its heritage, remaining as a beer-brewing, family-friendly town that honors its Porkopolis past; and Cincinnati will become a more cosmopolitan city with eclectic neighborhoods, multi-lingual street signs and a WNBA franchise. That retreat was paid for with a grant from the Knowledge Works Foundation.

A stumbling block for organizing retreats in the past: having them in front of the media. Since Cincinnati's charter doesn't allow for executive sessions, any retreat would be open to reporters.

At that last one, former Vice Mayor Jim Tarbell begged then-City Hall reporter Gregory Korte not to enter the room during the talk, saying Korte's presence would hurt officials' ability to speak openly.

The Enquirer covered it anyway.

Second files for Commission race

Wayne Wilke has filed as a Republican to run against Hamilton County Commissioner Pat DeWine in the March primary election.

Wilke has formerly served as County Treasurer and Probate Court Judge. That makes two people who have filed so far.

Ed Rothenberg, who was involved in the jail tax referendum, filed as a Republican to run against Commissioner Todd Portune. The filing deadline is Friday.

Whole voting system going kaflooey?

Jennifer Brunner has some big ideas

Strickland irks Clinton, calls for early OH primary

CNN has the story here

Big bucks help levies pass

Campaigns for tax levies that help the mentally ill and elderly raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. Most donations came from businesses and organizations that benefit from the levies. Read the story here.

Pete Rose almost got help from Congress

Malia Rulon had the story here

Portune raises $130K

Today is the cutoff for annual 2007 campaign finance reports.

Candidates must report all fund-raising activity that occurred through Dec. 31, although the reports don't actually have to be filed until Jan. 31.

County Commissioner Todd Portune, though, already knows how much he's raised toward his re-election campaign: $130,000.

"We have very strong bipartisan support and ... the fundraising has been very strong. I feel very good about the effort to date," Portune said. He's seeking a third term on county commission.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Weidman changes mind about seat

Sycamore Township Trustee Tom Weidman took out petitions to run for Hamilton County Commission, because he was "disgusted" by Commissioners Todd Portune and David Pepper's attempts to raise the sales tax to pay for a new jail.

But as the filing deadline draws near, Weidman says he's changed his mind. He wants to continue to focus on Sycamore Township in 2008 and running for another office detract from that, he said.

Here's what he e-mailed to the Enquirer:

"Prior to the November elections, I began receiving a significant number of requests by various elected officials and prominent Republicans in the county, to consider a run for County Commissioner against Todd Portune. I left on a 18 day trip out of the country two days after the election, and when I returned I met with various political and business advisors. This seemed like a great opportunity, as I was just as disgusted as the voters were with the Portune/Pepper team for shoving a tax down the throats of the Hamilton County citizens that was three times the size they rejected just months before. And only now do we find out that this was nothing more than a shell game, in an effort to camouflage the across the board deficiencies in their county budget.

In Sycamore Township, we are experiencing substantial business and retail redevelopment in the Kenwood area, and there are a few projects that I am committed to seeing through to completion. As a business President, I am committed to continuing the growth my company has demonstrated over the past 21 years, and increasing penetration into new foreign markets.
While I am flattered and honored with the degree of interest in me as a County Commissioner Candidate, at this time a campaign running nearly a year would compromise the commitments I have to the residents of Sycamore Township and to my business. It is for those reasons that I have decided not to run for County Commissioner in 2008."

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