Sunday, May 14, 2000

GOP official promises Bush: 'You'll win Ky.'

        It's all politics, all the time.

        How about some odds? During last week's Kentucky Derby in Louisville a couple of Republican Party leaders — state GOP Vice Chairman Damon Thayer and 4th District GOP Chairman Jay Hall of Florence — were thrilled to meet Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush.

        Mr. Thayer, a former Grant County resident who runs marketing for The Breeders' Cup, went so far as to guarantee that Mr. Bush will carry Kentucky over Democrat Al Gore in the fall.

        That's a bold prediction given that Democrat Bill Clinton carried the state over the elder Mr. Bush in 1992 and in 1996 over Bob Dole.

        But Mr. Bush understands that winning Kentucky could mean winning the election.

        “I told the governor that on election night, when the polls close in western Kentucky at 7 p.m. eastern time, you're going to know two things,” Mr. Thayer said, recanting the conversation.

        “Then he interrupted me with a smile, not a smirk, and said "And when that happens, it will be all over.' I responded, "That's right, then you're going to know you'll be the next president of the United States.”'

        How will Mr. Bush know? Kentucky has gone with the presidential winner in every election since 1964.

        Gore's forces on the ground: The campaign of Vice President Al Gore, the Democrats' entry in the presidential derby, has installed three staffers at state Democratic headquarters in Frankfort.

        The trio will be involved in “grass roots activities, such as meeting with community leaders and building support for Al Gore,” said Julie Green, who works in the press office at Mr. Gore's Nashville campaign headquarters.

        They'll be here through the May 23rd primary and then return later in the year to build support for the November general election.

        Meanwhile, the campaign has named veteran Campbell County Democratic Party official and activist Ruth Baumann as a vice chairman of Mr. Gore's Kentucky campaign. Mrs. Baumann, along with Peg Goodrich and Marilyn Schaefer, was honored for long-time service to the party during last week's annual dinner for the Campbell County Democratic Women's Club.

        Debate this: Looks like Don Bell will skip Wednesday night's KET debate of 4th District GOP candidates. Seems he and another candidate, Scott Tooley, aren't exactly getting along these days. Both men are accusing each other of slinging mud.

        “I'm not going to lower myself to be on the same program with him,” said Mr. Bell.

        Roger Thoney, of Highland Heights, will appear on the statewide television broadcast with Mr. Tooley.

        Republicans for Murphy: Kenton County GOP leaders say they are preparing a big final push for Ray Murphy in the May 23rd primary leading up to Covington's mayoral race. Mr. Murphy is running in a crowded field that includes Mayor Jim Eggemeier, commissioner Butch Callery and former mayor and commissioner Bernie Moorman.

        Look for phone calls, some last-minute ads and other work by Republicans on behalf of Mr. Murphy, a retired Covington cop and current Kenton County deputy sheriff.

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