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Published: Thursday, 10/18/2007

Democrat chides GOP foes

BY JOE VARDON
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The latest jab thrown in Ohio's testy 5th Congressional District Republican primary was delivered by a Democrat.

Robin Weirauch, a Democrat from Napoleon, ventured into what has been a messy Republican primary between state Sen. Steve Buehrer (R., Delta) and state Rep. Bob Latta (R., Bowling Green) by calling them out for their negative campaign tactics.

In a news release to announce Mrs. Weirauch's new Web advertisement denouncing President Bush's veto of a bill expanding the State Children's Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP, she said, "While my Republican opponents Bob Latta and Steve Buehrer are focused on tearing each other down, I'm focused on the issues that matter to working families."

Mrs. Weirauch is matched in her own party's primary against George F. Mays of Norwalk. The Republican race has been dominated by Mr. Buehrer and Mr. Latta, who are airing television commercials attacking one another. Also vying for the GOP nomination are Mark Hollenbaugh of Bowling Green, Fred Pieper of Paulding, and Mike Smitley of Van Wert.

Mrs. Weirauch went on in the news release to ask where the Republican candidates stood on Mr. Bush's veto, which turned away legislation that would've increased spending on the children's insurance program by $35 billion over five years.

"I think it's important for the voters to know where all the candidates stand on such an important issue," Mrs. Weirauch told The Blade.

Mrs. Weirauch's commercial was released online on YouTube yesterday, even though President Bush vetoed the bill on Oct. 3. Her campaign communications director, Ben Krompak, said the 30-second spot was released to coincide with an expected upcoming vote to override Mr. Bush's veto. Mr. Krompak said that vote could come as early as today.

Mrs. Weirauch didn't mention her Republican counterparts in the commercial but criticized the President and promised to help "millions of American children and their families have the help they need" if elected to Congress.

Both Mr. Buehrer and Mr. Latta approved an expansion of Ohio's SCHIP program to families 300 percent above the poverty level as part of their votes to pass Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland's 2008 budget.

Mr. Buehrer said the federal bill was a "worthwhile measure" but one that would have been funded by a major tax increase and was something he wouldn't have supported.

"This is the exact kind of program we need to oppose in Washington right now," Mr. Buehrer said. "We approved a significant increase here in Ohio, but it was an affordable increase."

Mr. Latta said he would need to know more specifics of the federal bill - including the effect it would have on the current number of children covered by private medical insurance - before commenting on the President's veto.

As for Mr. Latta's take on Mrs. Weirauch's foray into the 5th District Republican primary battle, he said, "She's lucky. She's in a very uncontested primary."

The race to fill the congressional vacancy left by the late U.S. Rep. Paul Gillmor (R., Tiffin) will be decided through a Nov. 6 primary and Dec. 11 runoff.

Contact Joe Vardon at:

jvardon@theblade.com

or 419-410-5055.



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