Dem Chairman Faces Challenger

Feb 24, 2010 at 4:58 pm

After years of increasing grumbling among some of the party’s rank-and-file members, Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairman Tim Burke will face a challenger for his post later this spring.

Darren Tolliver, the party’s treasurer who also served as treasurer for candidate Brian Garry in his 2007 Cincinnati City Council race, told precinct executives this week he would seek the chairmanship.—-

An election will be held when the party’s Central Committee meets after the May 4 primary.

Tolliver is African-American, and some black members were angered in January when Burke pushed to have the party’s executive director, Caleb Faux, appointed to the Board of Elections instead of Silverton Mayor John A. Smith. Some party members wanted an African-American appointed, whether it be Smith, former Cincinnati Mayor Dwight Tillery or someone else.

The Board of Elections appointment pays $19,812 annually. Burke said Faux deserved the appointment because the party couldn’t afford to increase his executive director’s salary, and the additional income would be a consolation.

Burke has been criticized in recent years for lobbying the party to endorse candidates who allegedly don’t abide by Democratic principles but are good at raising campaign money like Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes and Cincinnati City Councilman Jeff Berding.

Also, Burke was blasted for not having a Democratic candidate for county prosecutor on the ballot in 2004, when incumbent Prosecutor Mike Allen decided not to seek another term following a sex scandal. A Republican write-in candidate, former Prosecutor Joe Deters, won that race.

And Burke took more heat in 2008, when he agreed to a deal with the GOP not to field an endorsed candidate in one of the two county commission races that year. Because of record-setting Democratic turnout in the presidential race, some party members believe Democrats could’ve captured all three seats on the commission.