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Published: Wednesday, 10/2/2002

Republicans establish south county office near Democratic one on Lewis Avenue

Stewart: GOP chief has new headquarters. Stewart: GOP chief has new headquarters.

TEMPERANCE - For the next six weeks, Monroe County's political battleground is a creek, an old gas station, and an historic home.

That, and about a mile of political spectrum, is now all that separates the Monroe County Republican Party and its Democratic counterpart in downtown Temperance.

The local GOP spent much of last week setting up its new south county campaign headquarters in a former home at 8819 Lewis Ave.

It is near the Ivor Lindsey Senior Housing Complex, which last housed a travel agency.

From the new location, just a few hundred yards south of the Monroe County Democratic Committee's new headquarters at 8927 Lewis,

Republicans hope to direct a battle that will send their candidates to the State Legislature and to the Monroe County Board of Commissioners, county GOP chairman Greg Stewart said.

“What we were looking for was to cover as many bases as we could, and this [location] gives us the ability to have a presence for [our candidates],” Mr. Stewart said.

“It's a good spot for distributing signs and getting volunteers. Bedford is a conservative area and we're looking to maximize that.”

While there probably won't be any exchange of artillery shells between the two campaign headquarters before the November election, there likely will be some spirited exchanges of rhetoric.

Several contested races this fall are likely to hinge on voter sentiment in Bedford Township, where party loyalties sometimes take a back seat to other considerations.

The list of contested races being fought in Bedford Township this year is impressive.

Incumbent State Sen. Bev Hammerstrom (R., Temperance), is facing a spirited fight from Democratic challenger and Berlin Township clerk Sharon LeMasters.

Meanwhile, in the 56th State House race, longtime county commissioner and Democrat Gail Hauser-Hurley and Republican Matt Milosh have both pinned their election hopes to a strong turnout in their home township.

At the county commission level, former Bedford Township Supervisor and Republican Pearl Albert-Green and Democrat Paul Lynch are vying for the right to succeed Ms. Hauser-Hurley on the county board, while incumbent Republican commissioner David Scott seeks another two-year term with a challenge from Democrat Larry O'Dell.

Although not technically within the district, the Temperance locations also allow both parties to have close access to State Rep. Randy Richardville's (R., Monroe) race against Democratic challenger Joshua Sacks.

The Democrats moved into their campaign headquarters in a former funeral home early last month, at the time saying that the south county campaign headquarters put them in the heart of the political races upon which they are concentrating.

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