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2 vie for GOP nomination for attorney general



Published: Mon, April 24, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



Polls showed Montgomery probably couldn't win the governor's race.

By JEFF ORTEGA

VINDICATOR CORRESPONDENT

COLUMBUS -- State Auditor Betty D. Montgomery of Perrysburg and state Sen. Timothy J. Grendell of Chesterland face off for Republican nomination for state attorney general.

Meanwhile, Atty. Subodh Chandra of Cleveland and state Sen. Marc Dann of Liberty are vying for the Democratic Party nod for the office.

Winners of the May 2 primary election advance to the November general election.

Montgomery, who was elected state auditor in 2002, previously served two four-year terms as attorney general, the state's chief legal officer.

Montgomery had been seeking her party's nomination for governor until late January, when she entered the attorney general's race, after polls found her trailing GOP gubernatorial candidates J. Kenneth Blackwell and Jim Petro, Ohio secretary of state and attorney general, respectively.

Montgomery is plugging her past achievements as attorney general -- bringing a computerized fingerprint system and new crime labs to the state.

As auditor, Montgomery says she has increased productivity in the office and reduced costs.

Montgomery says she's seeking the attorney general's office to continue serving the public.

"The attorney general's office embodies the best of government. It embodies the powerful words 'to protect and to serve,'" Montgomery, a former state senator and county prosecutor from northwest Ohio, said in a note to supporters.

The Republican state central and executive committee has endorsed Montgomery.

Grendell's pitch

Grendell is plugging what he calls a strong track record of working with law enforcement.

"As attorney general, I would like to meet regularly with law enforcement officers," Grendell said in a statement.

Grendell is also pushing for strengthening Ohio's public-records laws and said he wants to start a public-records compliance section in the AG's office, if he's elected.

"No Ohioan should have to hire an attorney to obtain a public record," Grendell said.

A lawyer, Grendell was elected to a four-year term in the state Senate in 2004.

Grendell served in the Ohio House of Representatives from 2000 to 2004.

Democratic candidates

On the Democratic side, Chandra, who is making his first bid for elective office, is playing up his past experience as an assistant U.S. attorney and law director for the city of Cleveland.

Chandra has bashed Montgomery and Petro, saying the office hasn't accomplished much on their watch.

"They have not done much," Chandra told members and guests at the Franklin County Democratic Lawyers Club in February.

Dann was appointed to the Ohio Senate in 2003 to fill out the remaining term of Democrat Tim Ryan of Niles who was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Dann was elected in 2004 to a four-year Senate term.

Dann, who served on the Liberty Board of Education in Trumbull County before going to the state Senate, has criticized Montgomery over a recent special audit of the troubled state Bureau of Workers' Compensation.

The special audit, released in February, named former coin dealer and GOP operative Tom Noe and his associates in findings for recovery for $13.5 million in connection with questionable investments the bureau made in two rare-coin funds.

Dann said others, possibly in state government, should be held accountable as well.

"I'm running for attorney general because I want to change the way business is done in state government," Dann told the Franklin County Democratic Lawyers Club.

Dann is endorsed by the Ohio Democratic Party.

Treasurer's race

In the race for state treasurer, incumbent Republican Jennette Bradley faces a primary challenge from Sandy O'Brien, the Ashtabula County auditor.

Republican Gov. Bob Taft appointed then-Lt. Gov. Bradley to state treasurer in 2005 to fill a vacancy.

Bradley, of Columbus, has also served as a member of the Columbus City Council.

O'Brien, of Rome, meanwhile, is in the last year of her third four-year term as Ashtabula County auditor.

Uncontested primaries

State Rep. Mary Taylor, an Akron-area Republican, is unopposed in the GOP auditor's primary. State Rep. Barbara Sykes, an Akron Democrat, is unopposed in the Democratic auditor's primary.

Jennifer L. Brunner of Columbus is unopposed in the Democratic secretary of state's primary, and Greg Hartmann of Cincinnati is unopposed in the GOP secretary of state's primary.

Franklin County Treasurer Richard Cordray of Columbus and Montgomery County Treasurer Hugh Quill, both Democrats, have dropped out of the race for state treasurer.




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