• U.S.

Springer’s Next Spectacle

2 minute read
Chris Maag

For possibly the first time in his career, Jerry Springer is acting coy. The famous (and infamous) TV talk-show host is considering a campaign for Governor of Ohio. Though he has yet to announce a decision, he has been spotted in the back rooms of upscale Cleveland restaurants, discussing the idea in hushed meetings with Ohio’s few remaining Democratic bigwigs. The party hasn’t held a single statewide office since 1994, so Springer is getting a hearing. “I don’t care if it makes us look desperate,” says Jimmy Dimora, chairman of the Democratic Party in the Cleveland area. “We are desperate.”

Springer, of course, is best known for his 14-year-old talk show, which is filled with dueling transsexual lovers and cheating midgets. Before that, he was a city council member in Cincinnati–during which time he was caught paying a prostitute with a personal check–and later mayor. Now that he has set his sights on the Governor’s mansion, Springer seems to have embarked on an image makeover. For years, Democratic leaders have urged him to start a radio talk show and distance himself from his TV persona. Springer did just that a month ago. For three hours a day, five days a week, on Cincinnati’s WCKY-AM, Springer is talking about the object of his renewed passion: politics. “Republicans get elected on cultural issues,” Springer says. “But if they ran on tax cuts for the wealthy or the end of Social Security, which is what they actually stand for, they’d lose.”

Just about the only subject Springer avoids these days is his own political plans, though he sounds like a man who is spoiling for a fight. “Unless Democrats start redefining the debate,” he says, “it doesn’t much matter who runs because they’ll continue to lose.” –By Chris Maag

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