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Published: Thursday, 10/12/2006

GOP secretary of state hopeful calls foe partisan

Hartmann Hartmann

COLUMBUS - Greg Hartmann, Republican candidate for secretary of state, yesterday took aim at his Democratic opponent's record as a judge as he argued she is too partisan to act as Ohio's chief elections official.

The accusation stemmed from a 2002 ruling by Jennifer Brunner, then a Franklin County Common Pleas judge.

She held that the Ohio School Facilities Commission was wrong when it disqualified a contractor from contention for a building project on the grounds it was not a responsible bidder.

The decision was reversed by the 10th District Court of Appeals.

Brunner Brunner

That court determined that Judge Brunner had erred by substituting her own judgment for that of "statutorily authorized decision-makers."

Currently the Hamilton County clerk of courts, Mr. Hartmann suggested that, by attacking Gov. Bob Taft's pet school-construction program, Judge Brunner was attempting to undermine the governor's bid for re-election. Mr. Taft won the election handily four years ago.

"This was clearly a political decision from a very partisan judge," he said. "She used it as a political platform to get involved in the governor's race and to attempt some payback."

Ms. Brunner has cited the decision in her own campaign, but she has tied to it to the subsequent resignation of the commission's executive director.

"My first thought is that Greg Hartmann is defending Taft's corruption," she said. "The school facilities commission's practices were found to be illegal and eventually unethical, with Randy Fisher taking free golf games, being convicted of misdemeanors, and resigning."

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