Democratic county commission candidate says he is in the race to stay

Aug 8, 2014

Sean Patrick Feeney said this afternoon he has rejected attempts by Democratic Party leaders to get him to step aside in the Hamilton County commission race for former mayor Charlie Luken.

"I'm committed to this; and I am going to continue on,'' said Feeney, a technology consultant who lives in North College Hill.

Earlier in the day, Hamilton County Democratic Party chairman Tim Burke said he wanted Feeney, a first-time candidate, to step aside so the Democrats could run former Cincinnati mayor Charlie Luken against Republican incumbent Chris Monzel.

"We asked him to step aside and he is not going to do that,'' Burke said late this afternoon. "That's the end of it. So be it."

The deadline for replacing a candidate in the Nov. 4 election is 4 p.m. Monday.

If Feeney had agreed to withdraw, Burke would have had to call an emergency meeting of the Democratic Party's executive committee over the weekend to approve a new candidate. .

Luken had expressed interest in the race, Burke said, but had not made a commitment to run. The former mayor and congressman is already a candidate for Hamilton County probate court judge and would have had to withdraw from that race. Luken could not be reached for comment.

Feeney won the May Democratic primary over Paul Komarek with 65 percent of the vote. Neither candidate had a Hamilton County Democratic Party endorsement.

Burke said that Greg Landsman, an unsuccessful candidate for Cincinnati council last year, and former council member Jim Tarbell had also expressed interest in taking on Monzel. Burke said Landsman would step aside if Luken decided to run.

But Feeney said he heard from Landsman who "pledged his support to my campaign."

The interest in taking on Monzel appears to be coming from anger in some sectors over the decision this week by Monzel and fellow Republican commissioner Greg Hartmann to place a sales tax hike on the ballot to repair Union Terminal. Many others favored a plan that would have repaired both Union Terminal and Music Hall.

It is an issue Feeney is campaigning on.