Give Voters a Chance

Chris Dole and Jason Riveiro are stuck playing the waiting game for now. For people who don't follow local politics closely, Dole and Riveiro are grassroots candidates who are bucking the politi

 
Joe Lamb


Jason Riveiro runs for state office as an independent.



Chris Dole and Jason Riveiro are stuck playing the waiting game for now.

For people who don't follow local politics closely, Dole and Riveiro are grassroots candidates who are bucking the political machinery and backroom deal-making of the Hamilton County Democratic and Republican parties. Both men are running for offices without the endorsement of either major party in an effort to give voters a choice in November's election.

Dole, a Democrat, is trying to qualify for the fall ballot so he can challenge Republican Greg Hartmann for the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners seat now held by Pat DeWine. DeWine is a Republican and isn't seeking re-election.

Riveiro, also a Democrat, wants to run for the 32nd District seat in Ohio's House of Representatives now held by Dale Mallory, Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory's brother. Dale Mallory, a first-term Democrat, has been bedeviled by a host of legal problems and hasn't been a particularly active lawmaker so far in Columbus.

The Mallory family has a long history in Cincinnati politics, and Democratic Party Chairman Tim Burke took a keen interest in promoting Dale's candidacy in 2006 despite his lack of experience and less-than-stellar reputation among some West End residents.

Savvy readers remember Hartmann. He's the guy who cut a deal with incumbent Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune, a Democrat, so neither would face a party-backed candidate in their separate county commission races.

The odious deal was hatched with the input of just five people in a county with nearly 564,000 registered voters.

Portune has taken a lot of heat for the deal, especially from fellow Democrats. Despite his progressive label, though, Portune has a record of trying to forge such deals.

When Portune made the jump from city council to county commission in 2000, he was angry that council's Democrats didn't heed his preference for a replacement. There's a telling entry from a 2005 ruling in an Ohio Civil Rights Commission case filed against Councilman John Cranley that ultimately was dismissed, a case in which Portune testified for the complainant.

Buried on page 5 of the 15-page ruling, an administrative law judge includes this as a finding of fact: "Although Respondent Cranley and Commissioner Portune are members of the Democratic Party, Commissioner Portune disliked Respondent Cranley. Commissioner Portune attempted to change the (council) appointment process in order to allow a Republican to fill the vacant seat."

In light of that action, it's not so surprising that Portune would agree to the current deal.

It will be a few weeks until we learn if Dole and Riveiro collected enough valid signatures to qualify for the November ballot. The Board of Elections is expected to make a decision at its May meeting.

Even if they qualify, it remains to be seen whether the pair will be able to wage an effective political campaign without the money and support of the major parties. But it's in every voter's best interest that they at least be given a chance.


Porkopolis Tip Lines: 513-665-4700 (ext. 147) or [email protected]

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