Portune's kickoff even brings Vic and Steve together
Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune kicked of his re-election campaign Friday with an endorsement by Lt. Governor Lee Fisher in front of a crowd full of notables.
Portune’s supporters packed the Vernon Manor Hotel space reserved for the breakfast event. (On the menu: bagels, muffins, coffee and juice.)
Among the interesting attendees: Both Victoria Wulsin and Steve Black. Fresh off an especially nasty fight in the Democratic congressional primary, Vic and Steve both managed to be in the same room together for more than an hour to support Portune. They were not seen mingling with each other though (at least not by the reporter in the room). And they sat at separate tables during Todd’s speech.
In addition to Lee Fischer and his staffers, tons of elected officials and candidates were present including:
Sen. Eric Kearney, Rep. Steve Driehaus (who gave the opening remarks),Cincinnati Vice Mayor David Crowley and councilmembers Jeff Berding, John Cranley and Laketa Cole, Silverton Mayor John Smith, Sharonville Mayor Virgil Lovitt, Wyoming Vice Mayor Jim O-Reilly, Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairman Tim Burke, Former Cincinnati Mayor Dwight Tillery, members of the Chamber of Commerce and the Cincinnati Business Committee, and others.
Fellow Democratic commissioner David Pepper was not there, but his parents were. Portune recognized them in the speech saying their greatest gift to Hamilton County was their son.
Several candidates also came including congressional candidate Victoria Wulsin, former candidate Steve Black, candidate for state representative Denise Driehaus and Steve Brinker, running for county treasurer.
Commissioner Portune thanked everyone in attendance, mentioning most of them by name. He praised the work of the governor and lieutenant governor. He recounted the historic moment when he was first elected in 2000 as the first Democratic commissioner in 36 years, and lamented the difficulty he had getting things done.
“The other two were putting ideology ahead of what was best for the county,” he said.
He said in 2000 “the county was broken” because of misplaced priorities. Though it was a slow start, he said in the past 15 months since he’s been president, the commission has managed to slowly turn the county around, attacking fiscal issues, The Banks and other projects, including a renewed focus on comprehensive criminal justice solutions.
Then Portune encouraged everyone in the room to continue their support of him and other Democratic candidates to ensure the Democrats will succeed in November. Portune will be facing Hyde Park realtor Ed Rothenberg. Rothenberg is running as a Republican though he is not endorsed by the GOP. It’s a race Portune takes seriously.
“He will have an R next to his name and in Hamilton County, that’s a tough hill to climb,” said Portune.