Berding Barely Made It
Although local Democratic Party leaders are trying to spin growing dissatisfaction with Cincinnati City Councilman Jeff Berding’s impending endorsement as the work of a few “soreheads,” even the party’s endorsement committee was divided on the issue and barely gave Berding a recommendation.
After the endorsement committee voted Tuesday night on the nine-person city council slate as a whole, some members then insisted on voting on each of the candidates separately. When the endorsement committee got to the individual decision on Berding, the vote to recommend an endorsement of the incumbent councilman was a razor-thin margin of one vote. The committee voted 9-8 to recommend endorsement, with several members abstaining.
Berding, 40, is sales director for the Cincinnati Bengals and was the campaign manager for the 1996 sales tax campaign to finance new stadiums for the Bengals and Reds. He has prompted criticism from many rank-and-file Democrats during his first council term for 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 they also dislike 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 and that Berding helped Republican Bob Bedinghaus in his unsuccessful 2000 campaign to be re-elected to the Hamilton County Commission. Pictured here is a photograph that was featured on Eby’s campaign Web site showing him with Berding; the photo recently was taken off the site.
The Cincinnati Democratic Committee will hold a general membership meeting soon to decide on endorsements.
— Kevin Osborne