Dems Delay Decision on Berding
Local Democrats interviewed the last few people Saturday that the party is considering endorsing for this fall’s Cincinnati City Council elections but held off on a vote to allow debate about Councilman Jeff Berding.
The Cincinnati Democratic Committee’s endorsement group will meet again Tuesday evening to decide on its recommended council slate. Some Berding supporters on the committee pushed for an immediate vote Saturday after interviews were completed, but some members wanted to further discuss Berding’s council record and related activities at another meeting.
Berding, who is sales director for the Cincinnati Bengals, has rankled many rank-and-file Democrats with his budget positions and frequent alliances with Republicans. Among other complaints, they dislike that Berding formed a coalition with two Republicans and a Charterite on city council, along with Democrat Laketa Cole, to oppose the budget priorities of council’s other Democrats and that Berding’s contributors include many big name Republicans.
Also, critics are upset that Berding told a crowd that Republican John Eby should be elected to city council at a recent Westwood Concern meeting, allegedly promising to help Eby with campaign fund-raising, and that Berding helped Republican Bob Bedinghaus in his unsuccessful 2000 campaign to be re-elected to the Hamilton County Commission.
Berding was the last candidate interviewed Saturday, and former Democratic Mayor Dwight Tillery appeared to appeal to the committee on his behalf, party sources said. Tillery also is Cole’s political mentor. Berding was interviewed for 30 minutes, during which he tried to show he’s also worked with Democrats.
One question not asked of Berding was whether he planned to stop campaigning with Republicans, although the issue is expected to come up Tuesday, according to party sources.
If Berding gets an endorsement, the nine-candidate Democratic slate for city council is expected to be incumbents Berding, Cole, John Cranley, David Crowley and Cecil Thomas, along with former Councilwoman Minette Cooper and challengers Brian Garry, Greg Harris and Wendell Young.
Despite rumors to the contrary, former Vice Mayor Alicia Reece decided not to seek a return to office.
— Kevin Osborne