|Judicial Candidate Bruce Whitman Puts Cap on Lawyer Contributions|
Whitman is portraying Pat DeWine as a serial candidate who will have gobs of money thanks to his daddy's influence. In a letter to supporters, Whitman said he won't take more than a $625 contribution from individual lawyers -- which is half the legally ($1,150) allowed contribution amount -- in order to "protect against any possible inference of a conflict of interest in the future."
In other words, Democrat Whitman has voluntarily set a fundraising cap in a self-imposed effort to remove the influence of money from judicial campaigns. Pat DeWine hasn't put any limits on money. There are those who say Whitman has unilaterally disarmed -- he sees his move as an overdue attempt to try a new path. Whitman told his supporters:
"I do intend to finance a good part of my campaign, but I cannot do it alone against a well financed incumbent. Although Pat DeWine may not have distinguished himself as a lawyer or trial judge, he has inherited a well known political name and has run for office many times. I expect that a successful campaign will require me to raise and spend at least $100,000."By the way, Pat DeWine's is in the middle of a six-year term on the Common Pleas Court. So he is trying leave early to jump into another elected position. Not exactly the deal voters expected in 2008 when they put him on the bench -- but not exactly unusual in the courthouse where such shuffling is accepted practice. And if he loses to Whitman, Pat DeWine will still be a judge, because he isn't resigning to run for the appeals court seat. Politicians have an expression for that conduct -- they call it "running safe" because there is no risk you will lose your government paycheck and benefits.
As for the serial candidacies: Pat DeWine started his political career on Cincinnati City Council but left early. He tried to jump into Congress in 2005 by running for the Ohio 2nd District seat, but finished fourth in the 11-person primary to Jean Schmidt. His father, then a Senator, helped him raise more than $1 million. But it didn't work out. Later, DeWine resigned from City Council to take a seat on the Hamilton County Commission, his first early departure from an elected term. He then left the commission after one term and moved to the Common Pleas Court. He has served three years and one month of his six year term as a judge.
Whitman, who has been a trial lawyer, is a Walnut Hills High School and University of Cincinnati Law School grad. He has been a Cincinnati Human Relations Commission member. He said he has a four-point plan for the court of appeals:
1. Encourage plain English Jury Instructions in the Trial Courts.
2. Enforcement of the New Criminal Sentencing Law: I will work hard to make sure that such sentencing protects the safety of the community and rights of the defendant.
3. Timely and clear decision-making: I will write opinions that clearly and plainly explain the basis for the decision.
4. Proper oversight. The Republicans currently hold all 6 seats on the Court of Appeals, As a Democrat, I will provide effective oversight and a diverse point of view.