Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Leading county exec candidates in our Sept. issue (and one we left out)

“A Fresh Start,” my coverage of the Cuyahoga County executive race, is out now in the September issue of Cleveland Magazine. Fourteen smart Clevelanders, from Joe Cimperman to Jimmy Malone, talk about what they expect from Cuyahoga County’s future leader and what challenges they hope the new government will take on.

The five leading candidates for the executive job describe their new ideas for the county government, and I analyze the biggest question each has to face to get elected. Take a look at my coverage of candidates Ed FitzGerald and Terri Hamilton Brown if you’re trying to decide who to vote for in the Sept. 7 Democratic primary.

What about the Republicans, you may ask? I also spoke to former state rep Matt Dolan for the package. We decided to focus our coverage on the five candidates we thought had the best experience for the job and the best chance to win.

By those standards, we left out Republican Victor Voinovich, a real estate agent who declared bankruptcy in 2003 and is playing the ballot name game, trading on the reputation of his senator brother by adopting the slogan “The name you can trust.”

His campaign was, naturally, unhappy to see our Voinovich-less September issue. “Shame on you!” his treasurer, Holly Thacker, e-mailed us. “How could you not report on this true lifelong Cuyahogan, a businessman, entrepreneur family man with character who has a pull yourself up by the bootstrap American story?”

Voinovich called my editor, Steve Gleydura, with a similar message. “I think you’re going to be embarrassed,” he said, hinting he’s confident of a victory in Tuesday’s Republican primary.

Interestingly, his call came a day after Henry Gomez – who penned a less than flattering profile of Voinovich in July – reported the political newcomer has Dolan running scared (emphasis mine):

But before he can take on FitzGerald, Dolan must win his primary. It's not shaping up to be as easy as anyone thought. According to his most recent campaign finance report, Dolan spent more than $140,000 this month on postage and printing. The money helped fund a direct mail assault on his chief opponent, Victor Voinovich…

Dolan's internal polling data spooked him into the spending spree.

"Clearly, numbers showed that people thought I was running against George Voinovich," said Dolan, who has been endorsed by the county GOP.

If Voinovich proves us wrong and wins the primary, we’ll definitely cover him this fall. In the meantime, if you’re a Republican primary voter looking for information about him, check out his website,, which includes links to his economic plan and a 9-page bio, and his tense debate with Dolan at the City Club – hear the entire debate as a podcast here or WCPN’s coverage here.

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