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Councilman’s Ex-Wife Turns Tables

December 17, 1998

AKRON, Ohio (AP) _ Tracy Cochran went door to door last year, encouraging people to vote for her husband for City Council.

She’s out in the neighborhoods again, but this time with a different message: Don’t vote for her now ex-husband, Ernie Tarle.

For the past week, Ms. Cochran has been handing out bright yellow fliers in an ``Anybody But Tarle″ campaign.

Tarle, 33, is trying to regain the council seat he lost last month in a recall election. Voters turned him out of office after he was charged with passing a bribe to a fellow council member. Tarle was later acquitted.

He contended the money was a campaign contribution and had nothing to do with a vote on an oil well.

Ms. Cochran, who was married to Tarle for two years, said she was trying to undo the hard work she put in as ``the smiling wife.″ She urged voters to ignore Tarle’s ``bright smile,″ adding: ``Appearances can be deceiving.″

Ms. Cochran said she doesn’t care who wins the special Jan. 5 Democratic primary as long as it isn’t her ex-husband. He faces four opponents.

``I know it seems like something bad I’m doing, but it’s really a matter of clearing my conscience,″ Ms. Cochran said.

Tarle said: ``I don’t want to say anything negative about my ex-wife,″ he said. ``I’ve been through a painful divorce. Why she would choose to drag that out in public in any way is her business.″

Ms. Cochran had been Tarle’s biggest supporter and chairwoman of his campaign. His campaign brochures featured a picture of the couple on their wedding day.

But things started to go sour just before the election last year. Ms. Cochran hung her wedding dress, veil and shoes in front of their home. Then she put a campaign sign for Tarle’s opponent in the couple’s front yard.

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