Thrusday, December 31, 1998

Resolutions that politicians ought to make

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Time for those New Year's resolutions, Northern Kentucky political style.

        Here are some from pols, parties and others that we might, but probably won't, see as we head into 1999.

        • Northern Kentucky Republicans. To not forget that humility, public service, good government and bipartisan cooperation are as much, and maybe more, about politics as winning elections.

        • Northern Kentucky Democrats. To find some passion, decent candidates and a strong message. We're once again getting close to a one-party system in some corners of Northern Kentucky, namely Boone and Kenton counties, and that party is not the Democrats.

        Just look at the Nov. 3 elections. How many more wake-up calls do the Democrats need? And how about seeking some inspiration and lessons from U.S. Rep.-elect Ken Lucas, the Boone County Democrat who won an open Republican congressional seat in beating Gex “Jay” Williams, and the Campbell County Democrats who held on to their courthouse seats last month.

        • The Kentucky Republican Party. To find a strong candidate for governor by the Jan. 31 filing deadline.

        Now that just about everybody who was anybody in GOP circles has decided against taking on Gov. Paul Patton in '99, the party that holds seven of Kentucky's eight congressional seats, nearly took over the state Senate, and dominated elections in some parts of Kentucky, is setting itself up for a big letdown next year.

        Right now the GOP gubernatorial primary could be a contest between former governor and current political gadfly Louie Nunn and a little-known advertising executive from Hart County named Peppy Martin.

        For clarification, the GOP primary would then be Louie vs. Peppy. That sounds like a bakeoff between a couple of pastry chefs.

        Talk about a momentum killer.

        • Kentucky U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell. To take at least a short break from campaigning.

        Fat chance on this one. As chairman of the Senate Republican campaign committee, he just finished helping candidates from all over the country, including Northern Kentucky's own U.S. Sen.-elect Jim Bunning, run for office.

        Even though Mr. McConnell doesn't have to run for re-election for another three years, he's already taken big steps toward his next campaign.

        The three-term senator is moving Scott Douglas from his London field office to Washington for a dual assignment as finance director of the re-election campaign and head of the Bluegrass Committee, Mr. McConnell's political action committee.

        Mr. Douglas, 25, was political director of Mr. Bunning's winning Senate campaign.

        Mr. Douglas' move to Washington should quell the rumors that Mr. McConnell wants a cabinet or administration post should a Republican win the White House in 2000.

        But you can bet those rumors will start back up if the Republicans do win the White House in 2000.

        • Bill Butler. To have a better year in 1999.

        The Corporex Cos. chairman is probably glad to see this year end. Mr. Butler, a Covington developer, has spent much of it fighting allegations of criminal wrongdoing in winning contracts to build Kenton County's $35 million courthouse.

        A Kenton County grand jury returned no indictments. Still, Mr. Butler spent what must be many thousands of dollars on legal fees and public relations efforts in trying to defend himself.

        Then, at a Christmas party earlier this month in Edgewood at the stunning home of hand surgeon Greg Sommerkamp, Mr. Butler got into it with an 18-year-old Crestview Hills man who tried to crash the party. According to Edgewood police Mr. Butler helped throw the guy out.

        Mr. Butler and his company still face a civil suit from Kenton County.

        For Mr. Butler, what a way to spend a Christmas party. What a way to spend a year.

        Patrick Crowley covers Kentucky politics for The Kentucky Enquirer. His column appears Thursdays and Sundays. He can be reached at 578-5581, or 502-875-7526 in Frankfort, or by e-mail at

        Patrick Crowley covers Kentucky politics for the Enquirer. He can be reached at 578-5581, or (502) 875-7526 in Frankfort.