Sources: Pepper Eyes Statewide Office

Mar 13, 2009 at 2:47 pm


Now it makes sense.

Many political observers wondered why Hamilton County Commissioner David Pepper would agree to introduce Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory at last Wednesday's event and endorse Mallory’s re-election bid.

After all, although Pepper and Mallory are both Democrats, they were rivals in the 2005 non-partisan mayoral race and have starkly different approaches to policy-making. Nevertheless, there Pepper was on a podium at Union Terminal, stating that Mallory had helped unify City Council and improved Cincinnati’s image.—-

“There was a lot to do, and he did it,” Pepper said.

Since then, multiple sources have told CityBeat that Pepper is contemplating seeking the Democratic nomination to run for Ohio auditor next year. The office is currently held by Mary Taylor, the only Republican in Ohio to be elected to a statewide non-judicial office during the 2006 election.

Mallory, a former state lawmaker, has extensive contacts in Democratic circles throughout Ohio, which could prove valuable if Pepper runs.

Pepper has been taking to Democrats statewide in an effort to gauge support for a campaign and line up potential contributors, sources said. A decision hasn’t yet been made, they added.

Reached today by telephone, Pepper declined comment on the auditor’s race.

Pepper, 37, an Anderson Township resident, is the son of John Pepper, ex-chairman of Procter & Gamble and current chairman of The Walt Disney Co.

The younger Pepper served two terms on Cincinnati City Council, finishing first in a field of more than two-dozen candidates each time. After the unsuccessful mayoral race, he ran for the Hamilton County Commission and defeated Republican incumbent Phil Heimlich.

UPDATE: Although Pepper declined to comment on his political plans Friday, he called later to say his endorsement of Mallory wasn't influenced by any factors other than his admiration for the mayor.

"I was honored that the mayor asked me to introduce him," Pepper said. "And he and I have worked well on many issues. It's as simple as that."

Methinks thou doth protest too much.