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Portune Names Temporary 'Placeholder' For His Seat

Tana Weingartner
Victoria Parks may join Denise Driehaus (middle) and Stephanie Summerow Dumas through the March 17 primary.

Updated: 9:01 p.m.

Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune has made a recommendation for his temporary successor. Victoria Parks has been Portune's chief of staff since 2016. She tells WVXU the honor is "bittersweet."

She is likely to be a "placeholder" commissioner, although it is possible she could serve through 2020. As a placeholder, she would agree to step down after the March 17 primary, in which three Democrats are running for Portune's seat. The winner of that primary would replace Parks as an incumbent county commissioner and run for a full term in the fall. 

Parks never had any intention of filing to run for the seat. Three Democrats did file: Alicia Reece, Kelly Prather and Connie Pillich will compete in the March primary. They'll face one Republican candidate, Andy Black.

Portune has endorsed Pillich in the three way primary. 

Parks still needs approval by the Democratic Party central committee. Party Chair Gwen McFarlin says Portune is "very well respected and loved within the party, but the final decision will be up to the party's central committee."

If approved, Parks says she's glad she'll be able to continue Portune's work and his policy agenda without interruption, but her ambition was never to hold office herself.

Portune is stepping down because of his declining health. The 61-year-old Democrat had a leg amputated last year to stop cancer, but tumors returned.

If appointed, Parks would mark two firsts for the board: the first time all three commissioners are women, and the first time two of the three are African American.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.