Wednesday, May 03, 2000

CROWLEY: Kentucky politics

War chest appears sizable

        You want politics? We got politics.

        Big event will raise big money: Kenton County Judge-executive Dick Murgatroyd will flex some hefty political and financial muscle at a Thursday night fund-raiser planned for the Metropolitan Club in Covington.

        Mr. Murgatroyd, a first-term Villa Hills Republican who isn't even up for re-election for more than two years, already has $30,000 or so in his campaign kitty, according to Mike Gibbons, the judge's campaign finance chairman.

        “We'll probably raise another $35,000 to $38,000 Thursday and net around $30,000, so we'll have $60,000 for the judge,” Mr. Gibbons said Tuesday.

        The event might set a record for co-hosts — there are 123 mostly high-powered names on the list.

        “Last year for Judge Murgatroyd's fund-raiser we had 80 or 90 co-hosts, which was a lot,” Mr. Gibbons said. “But I don't think I've ever seen one with this many co-hosts.”

        Events like this not only raise money for a candidate, they also send a couple of not-so-implicit messages.

        One, if anybody is out there planning to challenge Mr. Murgatroyd in 2002, they'd better have a boatload of cash.

        And two, I'm a candidate who can draw a crowd and raise money, so if I decide to run for something else — such as Congress or a statewide seat like lieutenant governor — I can be competitive.

        There is lots of speculation about what Mr. Murgatroyd might do in the next election, but for now his political camp is saying only that a re-election run is the sole race in the judge's future.

        We'll see about that.

        By the way, tickets are still available to the event for $75.

        A side note to the fund-raiser: Kentucky Senate President David Williams, a Republican from Burkesville in southern Kentucky, is expected to attend the event.

        Mr. Williams is also scheduled to attend a May 12 fund-raiser for Campbell County Judge-executive Steve Pendery, a Fort Thomas Republican.

        Mr. Williams is a good Republican who likes to help out his fellow GOP officeholders.

        But word is that Mr. Williams is gearing up for a gubernatorial run in 2003. Could it be he's up here to help build his own base of support in Northern Kentucky? Or maybe he's scouting for a running mate?

        That's my boy: Republicans are expecting U.S. Rep. Ken Lucas, a Richwood Democrat, to spend special attention on Boone County during his fall re-election campaign.

        Mr. Lucas' son, Lance, will be making his first run for Boone County commissioner in the fall. He was appointed to a vacant seat on the court in March. He'll run in November against a Republican the Boone County GOP is expected to announce shortly.

        Ken Lucas lost his native Boone County badly in the 1998 election. And even though Boone is the largest GOP-controlled county in the state, Republicans expect the elder Lucas will spend lots of time and money in the county.

        “That way Ken Lucas can use his campaign money and resources to get his name out, and getting his name out also gets his son's name out,” a GOP strategist said.

Patrick Crowley covers Kentucky politics for The Kentucky Enquirer. He can be reached at 578-5581, or by e-mail at