All About Political Picnics and Polls

More information is emerging about Cincinnati City Councilman Jeff Berding’s “un-endorsement” by the local AFL-CIO, as well as about an election year poll commissioned by Democrats.

Attendees at the Cincinnati AFL-CIO’s annual Labor Day Picnic on Monday at Coney Island were surprised when they read a flyer listing in alphabetical order the union’s endorsed candidates for City Council. Listed on top of the list, above “Laketa Cole,” was a sticker containing the name “Laure Quinlivan.”—-

Quinlivan, a former WCPO-TV reporter, wasn’t on the AFL-CIO’s list of endorsements when it was released earlier this year. In fact, Quinlivan had complained in an interview with Cincy Chic about a family trip to Italy costing her an endorsement.

Cincy Chic: All work aside, how do you let loose and enjoy life?

Quinlivan: Besides doing yoga, enjoying wine and learning new things, I try to take a great vacation every year. This summer my husband and I went to Italy with another couple, a trip we planned and talked about for nine months.

Unfortunately, the trip cost me the endorsement of the AFL-CIO, whose leaders scheduled Council Candidates interviews the week I was scheduled to be in Italy. I declined to cancel my trip but talked to union leaders on the phone before I left. However, some AFL-CIO guys didn’t like the fact that I wasn’t there in person for their interview session. They endorsed two young guys with far less experience who’ve never been in unions. I’ve been a union member most of my career and even negotiated for our reporters’ union at Channel 9. My union experience was trumped by what some perceived as a diss — choosing vacation.

Besides Quinlivan, all of the remaining names on Monday’s flyer were in alphabetical order. Curiously missing from the list was Berding, who previously had been announced as an endorsed candidate.

Based on tips from reliable sources, CityBeat first made inquiries last week about the union rescinding its endorsement, but the newspaper still hasn’t received a reply and no announcement has been made publicly.

A group of Democratic precinct executives will attempt to persuade the party to rescind its endorsement of Berding at this Saturday’s meeting of the Cincinnati Democratic Committee (CDC). The group meets at 9 a.m. at the Laborer’s Building, 3457 Montgomery Road in Evanston.

Some Berding supporters are trying to block the un-endorsement effort, alleging the CDC’s by-laws don’t provide any procedures for such an action. Opponents, however, counter that the by-laws “don’t prohibit a ‘dis-endorsement’ just because those powers aren’t enumerated,” one source said.

Regardless, Mayor Mark Mallory — Berding’s fellow Democrat — conspicuously snubbed Berding at the union event. While giving remarks before the introduction of President Obama, Mallory mentioned the importance of “teamwork” and listed all the names of the party’s City Council candidates, incumbents and challengers — except Berding’s and Tony Fischer, a challenger who is a Berding ally.

Berding has angered Malloy and a council majority for publicly opposing their budget policies and for allegedly undermining negotiations with the police union.

Berding, a Linwood resident, is sales director for the Cincinnati Bengals. He is seeking his third council term.

Meanwhile, sources within the Democratic Party have provided CityBeat with information from a poll commissioned by the party a few months ago.

The poll found that, of the candidates who had announced by that time, Berding would make it back onto City Council this November, but just barely. The poll had Berding finishing eighth out of the nine people elected. Placing ninth was Councilman Chris Monzel, an incumbent Republican.

Other poll findings included Greg Harris, a Democratic appointee, finishing in sixth place; Charlie Winburn, a Republican seeking a return to office after several years’ absence, finishing seventh; and Councilwoman Roxanne Qualls, a Charterite incumbent, placing first, well ahead of everyone else in the field.

Whether those results will hold in light of subsequent controversies is anyone’s guess.

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