Newlywed GOP House Candidate Stivers Can Still 'Window Shop'
'Tis the season for mudslinging. And oh how the dirty accusations are flying in the House race for Ohio's hotly contested open 15th congressional seat, where Democrats are intimating the GOP candidate has a wandering eye when it comes to young gals.
It all started when the Canton Repository wrote an item in its Capitol Notebook column titled "Window Shopping."
The item noted how GOP state senator Steve Stivers, who is running to replace retiring Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio) in the House, was in the state Senate chamber recently when the state champion girls volleyball team of Mercy High School in Cincinnati, there to receive an award, caught his eye.
Someone apparently reminded Stivers he had recently returned from his honeymoon -- to which Stivers, according to the Canton, replied, "I'm allowed to window shop, just not buy."
The paper wrote that Stivers' wife, an aide to the state speaker of the House, "confirmed her husband's shopping rules, but said they might be worth a review."
Stivers was campaigning this week at the Delta Zeta sorority house on Ohio University's campus in Columbus, according to this story in The Hill newspaper. Which, of course, only fueled the fire for Democrats eager to defeat him.
House Democratic operatives who are expecting landslide victories in races across the country on Tuesday plan to hammer Stivers on the "window shopping" comment as hard as they can over the next five days.
"Obviously, it's going to raise red flags whenever you have a politician callously stating, 'I'm allowed to window shop, just not buy,' as Stivers did when referring to high school students that he called 'attractive,'" says Ryan Rudominer, spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "That's why President Bush and House Minority Leader John Boehner's golden boy Steve Stivers soliciting votes in sorority houses is more than a bit suspect."
The Stivers campaign had not yet responded to our request for comment. But we'll update when they do.
UPDATE: Stivers campaign spokesman Rob Nichols has responded, noting first and foremost that Stivers visits fraternities as well as sororities at Ohio State University. Got that?
He said nothing about the GOP candidate's policy on window shopping around high school girls.
Instead, Nichols took a shot at Stivers' Democratic opponent, Mary Jo Kilroy, saying, "Unlike his uncharismatic liberal opponent whose handlers keep hidden from the public at all costs, Senator Stivers enjoys engaging and interacting with voters all across the district. If this is what the Democrats plan to focus on over the next five days, it speaks volumes to the galactic failures in the candidate who central Ohioans cannot wait to vote against."
He provided a link to this Time magazIne depiction of Kilroy.
Mary Ann Akers
October 30, 2008; 1:43 PM ET
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