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Tuesday, December 06, 2011

No Free Ride in 2012 for Republican Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Hartmann: This Time, a Democrat Will Run

No Deal Between GOP and Dems For Hamilton County Commission
CINCINNATI (TDB) -- The era of the deal has ended.  Democrat Greg Harris, a former Cincinnati council member who lost his seat two years ago, is running for a spot on the Hamilton County Commission.  That means GOP Commissioner Greg Hartmann will have to campaign and actually face the voters this year -- something he escaped in 2008 when the leaders of both political parties made a backroom deal to give him a free pass for his first term.  When Democrats complained about the 2008 deal, Republican Chairman Alex Triantafilou called them "radicals."  But democracy has bloomed in this year of the Arab Spring.  Triantafilou, Hartmann and the GOP will have to work to hold the seat.  Harris, 40, holds a Ph.D. from Miami University.  He is a West Sider and used his stint on Cincinnati's Council to push for reforms that included consolidation of city and county services to save money.
Harris was interested in seeing if the city police department and county sheriff's department could be combined to save tax dollars.   During a chat with The Daily Bellwether today , Harris said he was pumped for the contest and would file nominating petitions tomorrow: "This is a race I really wanted. The county is in a lot of trouble and there isn't any evidence Greg Hartmann is getting us closer to resolving the issues."  Harris said he was particularly irked over Hartmann's proposal to use millions of dollars from an indigent healthcare levy to pay off debts from the stadiums.
Democrat Greg Harris

"That really put a fire in my belly,"  Harris said of Hartmann's proposal.  "I don't know how anybody can think that way, that it's okay to raid healthcare for the poor to pay for Mike Brown's stadium."  Harris also said there are issues about Hartmann's attendance and work habits.  "He's originally from Texas, there's a lot of issues about absenteeism with him,  I work very hard,  I really value constituent services.  I don't like the term politician.  I like public servant."  You can read quite a bit about Harris' biography on this webpage left over from his Council campaign.  There is more background info available here.  Meanwhile, the Republicans apparently haven't found anyone to run against Commissioner Todd Portune, who was unopposed in 2008 during the era of the deals. There are suggestions that party staffer Maggie Nafziger Wuellner will temporarily fill the GOP slot as a "placeholder."   That means she'll file nominating petitions, but won;'t actually run for the office.  A placeholders waits until a candidate can be recruited, then withdraws.  The party gets to name the replacement..

There were rumors over the weekend that Cincinnati City Councilman Cecil Thomas planned to run against Hartmann for the commission seat.  Thomas is staying put at City Hall, where he won another term last month.   His wife, Pamela Thomas, has filed to run for Hamilton County Clerk of Courts as a Democrat against Tracy Winkler, whom the GOP appointed to complete an unexpired term earlier this year.


  1. This is a good race for Harris. He'll do much better in a head-to-head race versus field race (Council), where he gets lost in the crowded field. Hartmann is really unpopular with Si Leis and other Republican rank & file (Si Leis, etc)--especially those who have worked for him. Folks think he's a flake. If Harris can raise a decent sum and ride the wave of Obama's turnout machine, he should prevail. In 2008, Wayne Coates won countywide (Recorder), and Martha Goode got 49.5% in her race for Clerk. The county is really competitive for Dem's now.

  2. Democracy blooms in the year of the Arab Spring. You said it right. The voters get to decide.

  3. Anonymous comments are allowed on this blog. Beats the Enquirer censorship.

  4. Harris' common sense and intelligence should play well in the county. Lets hope that Democrats will seize the opportunity and regain the Commission.
    Harris only lost the council race because he wasnt afraid to stand up for his beliefs and in the process pissed off the FOP and firefighters. We need this commitment to public service at the county level. I bet that Harris wouldnt have agreed to basically give away the Drake Center.

  5. Greg Hartmann is a carpetbagger from Texas. He showed up in town for the Bush campaign. He's just a politically ambitious rich guy installed in office by the powers controlling our local Republican Party. Good people were pushed aside to make room for him. People who were stepped on are not going to help him. Compared to Hartmann, Romney looks like a real Republican.

  6. Is this the same Greg Harris who has been a candidate from some elected office for the past 10 years and who so far has never, ever won an election?
    I'm sure Hartmann is shaking in his boots. Haha

  7. Ex-Enquirer CommenterDecember 07, 2011 3:20 PM

    So when is the last time Greg Hartmann won an election with somebody running a real campaign against him? He's been on the ballot. Has he ever had a serious opponent before? Anyplace this could be looked up?

  8. They call him taxhike hartman for a reason.

  9. Hartmann Such!!! all he Cares about is prosucutors and the sheriff department. he need Cut the Budget 44 million next and balance the Budget for real no stop gap budget. Cut sheriff office 21 million and Cut the Prosecutor ,clerkf of courts and the probation 23 million dollars. He needs to stop trying to rasies property and sales taxes, and cut budget and spend more on economic development.