Springer Sets the Date — Aug. 6

Posted July 31, 2003 at 1:58pm

Jerry Springer today set the date and time for announcing whether he will seek the Democratic nomination for Senate in Ohio next year.

Springer will hold a news conference Aug. 6 at 2 p.m. in the “Senate” meeting room at the Hyatt on Capitol Square in Columbus, according to a release from his exploratory campaign. The controversial talk-show host had been expected to announce his decision this week, however a spokesman said Springer needed more time to make up his mind. He spent the past 10 days vacationing with his family in Italy as he has weighed a bid.

“It’s obviously a huge decision with many ramifications — not just for Jerry and his family, but also for the constituency he cares about and the Democratic Party he loves,” spokesman Dale Butland said in the release.

If he enters the race, Springer will face state Sen. Eric Fingerhut in a Democratic primary. The winner will face Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio), who is seeking a second Senate term in November 2004.

Springer, 59, has spent six months traveling the Buckeye State’s rubber chicken circuit, keynoting Democratic functions and testing the waters for a Senate bid. He has said that he would run only if he saw empirical evidence that he can cut through the “clutter” of his show and be viewed as a serious candidate.

A February University of Cincinnati poll showed Springer’s favorable/unfavorable rating was 13 percent to 71 percent, the highest unfavorable rating ever attained in the poll’s history.

In the early 1970s, Springer served on the Cincinnati City Council. He stepped down from the position in 1974 when it became public that he had paid a prostitute for services with a check. He returned to politics in 1977 and was elected mayor of Cincinnati by receiving the largest plurality of city council votes in the history of the city at the time.

He launched his political career with an unsuccessful bid for Congress in 1970. Springer lost a gubernatorial race in 1982, when now-Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) was a paid staffer on his campaign.