COLUMBUS - U.S. Senate candidate Eric Fingerhut will try to lend speed to his uphill campaign against incumbent George Voinovich by first slowing it to a walk.
The Democratic state senator and former congressman from Shaker Heights plans to "walk in Ohioans' shoes" for 310 miles over 27 days from Cincinnati to Cleveland beginning next week.
In addition to providing an opportunity to meet with average Ohioans along his route from Cincinnati to Dayton to Columbus and finally to Cleveland, the walk itself is a fund-raiser in which contributors would make pledges per mile.
"If it rains, we'll get wet, which is pretty much what everybody's life is like," said Mr. Fingerhut yesterday.
The route will roughly follow the I-75, I-70, and I-71 corridors, although Mr. Fingerhut said he will stay off the highways as he goes through small towns such as Yellow Springs and Mt. Vernon.
"We're going to meet hundreds of thousands of Ohioans and have a chance to talk to them," said Mr. Fingerhut. "Grass-roots politics isn't dead. It's just the politicians have given up on it.
"I'm going to do what George Voinovich has stopped doing," he said. "He spends his time fund-raising, playing the interest-group politics of Ohio. I spend my time walking in Ohioans' shoes every single day."
Mr. Voinovich's office declined comment yesterday. The senator is seeking a second six-year term on Nov. 2.
Mr. Fingerhut plans to walk on average 15 miles a day, sometimes taking a day off for rest and religious reasons. He will leave the route periodically to attend events elsewhere in the state, but he stressed that he will resume the walk at the point where he left off.
The southwest-to-northeast trek does not bring Mr. Fingerhut near Toledo, but he said he plans additional community walks later in the campaign that will bring him back to the city.
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