As many of you may or may not know, the local Hamilton County Democratic and Republican Parties decided to make the voters' choice for them when it comes to many county wide races this fall. The deal struck between the two parties has allowed Democratic Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune to run unopposed, while Republican Greg Hartman will run unopposed for the seat being vacated by Pat DeWine. In addition to Democrat Todd Portune being allowed to run without opposition, Democratic County Coroner Odell Owens will run unopposed. Since the Republicans have let these two off the hook, the Democrats have agreed to let Country Prosecutor Joe Deters have another four years, as well as agreeing not to run judges in 10 of 12 contests this fall.
I think all us can agree that this is a bad deal for voters, regardless of which party we support, what our particular ideology is when it comes to politics, or even if we support all of these candidates. The justice system is broken in Hamilton County, yet the Democrats are going to let the same Republicans who have been screwing it up for the past 10 years continue to do so. The reason that I think the Democrats made this concession to Republicans is because of fear of a candidate rising out of the ranks of the strong anti-tax movement who opposed the sales tax increase that Commissioners Portune and Pepper created last year. It was defeated by a ballot initiative in the fall. Tim Burke, Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairman, made this deal to ensure that the Democratic Party continues to hold a majority in the County's most powerful governing body.
There are a few things we can all do, however, to change the way things are being done. First, there is a man by the name of Chris Dole who plans on running as in independent for Hamilton County Commissioner. He needs to collect 3,000 signatures of registered voters in Hamilton County by 4pm March 3rd in order to appear on the November Ballot. If he succeeds in collecting enough valid signatures, he will be running against Greg Hartmann. You can sign one of his petitions to help him get on the ballot.
Another thing that we can all do is run for precinct executive in the Republican or Democratic Primary. This opportunity, unfortunately, will not be available to any of you who are not already running until 2010. Many precincts don't have anyone serving, and all you have to do is either gather 5 signatures to appear on the ballot, or file a declaration of candidacy to run as a write-in candidate. If you are running unopposed (as nearly all precinct executives do) all you have to do is vote for yourself to win election. As a precinct executive you are responsible for selecting party leadership. I know I will be doing my part to change how the Democratic Party functions this year, I hope everyone reading this will also want to get involved to make their party of choice more respectful of the voters as well.