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Local campaign chairs named for Portman

Two longtime Republican leaders in the county will head up the local campaign of Sen. Robert Portman as he vies for his second term in the U.S. Senate.

Last week Ray “Moose” Dutey and Dr. Burton Payne were appointed by the Portman campaign to join 188 county chairs as grassroots coordinators.

“I was called about a week and a half ago,” Dutey said. “We have always been his chairman. I think he does a terrific job.”

Right now Portman is expected to face in November 2016 the winner of the Democratic primary, which appears will pit former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland against Cincinnati councilman P.G. Sittenfeld. Strickland recently got the endorsement of former President Bill Clinton while former Sen. John Glenn aide, Dale Butland, has signed on as an adviser to the Sittenfeld campaign.

Portman goes into the early stages of the fight with a war chest at $2.75 million.

“We will try to get the vote out next year,” Dutey said. “I think he is already known in the county.”

He anticipates at least three campaign events in Lawrence County — one this summer and the rest in 2016.

Dutey, former county auditor and recorder, is chair of the Republican party; Payne, a former county commissioner, is the GOP parliamentarian.

“Moose and Doc have been in politics since the early ‘60s and know Lawrence County as well as anybody,” county auditor Jason Stephens, party vice chair, said. “They are still as vibrant as ever.”