NILES - David Pepper blasted Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on several fronts Friday during a brief political whistlestop in the Democratic-entrenched Valley.
''Beneath the surface, Mike DeWine has huge issues dealing with heroin in a serious way,'' said the 41-year-old Democrat hopeful for the state's top law enforcement job.
''He's just way behind the eight-ball in this heroin crisis. I'm sure police chiefs around here would have told you that years ago,'' Pepper told a handful of supporters at Vernon's Cafe.
A practicing attorney and Yale Law School graduate, Pepper is a former Cincinnati councilman and Hamilton County commissioner. He ran unsuccessfully in 2010 for state auditor. Grabbing support of statewide FOP and firefighting organizations, Pepper had been plotting the challenge against the 66-year-old DeWine for some time.
''I'll tell you this. Mike DeWine isn't a friend of the teachers, firefighters or police officers. He described Senate Bill 5 as misunderstood. I thought it was very clear,'' Pepper said.
DeWine's camp is firing back at Pepper, this week launching a counter attack that contends Pepper had more than 180 infractions and $10,000 in fines.
Pepper downplayed recent reports that he's paid nearly $10,000 in fines for 182 parking and expired license plate violations over the last 14 months.
''These have been paid,'' Pepper said.