Sunday, February 06, 2000

House candidate just moved to Ky.


Name calling under way

BY PATRICK CROWLEY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FORT MITCHELL — It didn't take Scott Tooley long to earn a couple of unflattering nicknames from the Kentucky political establishment.

        Mr. Tooley, who filed to run in the 4th District U.S. House Republican primary just days after moving into the state from Washington, said he has been called a “carpetbagger” and “The Hillary Clinton of Kentucky,” the latter a reference to the first lady's move to New York to run for the U.S. Senate.

        Mr. Tooley, a 25-year old Nebraska native who most recently worked as a Capitol Hill aide for a California Republican, said he isn't rattled by the reception he's received from some Bluegrass politicians.

        “I'm not a carpetbagger, and I'm sure not Hillary Clinton,” Mr. Tooley said Friday from his adopted home in Shelby County, a growing county outside Louisville that is on the far western rim of the sprawling 22-county 4th District.

        Mr. Tooley said he had planned on moving to Kentucky so his wife, Rebecca, could be closer to her family in Louisville.

        “I've worked for a congressman, and I want to serve in Congress,” he said. “This is a district that needs some leadership, that needs a conservative. What I've learned on Capitol Hill will serve me well and allow me to serve the people of the 4th District.”

        In Kentucky, where candidates often spend years building name recognition and a political base, Mr. Tooley's candidacy to run for the seat held by first-term Boone County Democrat Ken Lucas was a surprise to Republican Party leaders.

        “I still haven't heard anything from him,” said Damon Thayer, the vice chairman of the Kentucky Republican Party and a Grant County resi dent. “If he's going to run as a Republican, he should be talking to party officials.”

        Two Republicans are already in the May GOP primary race: Don Bell of Oldham County, a former U.S. Secret Service agent who has run unsuccessfully for state and county office; and Roger Thoney, who likewise has never held office.

        Mr. Lucas, who has lived in Northern Kentucky all his life and served for years in local and county government posts, is running unopposed in the Democratic primary.

        A native of Lincoln, Neb., Mr. Tooley holds a degree in international business from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa and has done postgraduate work in computer sciences.

        He worked for about six months in Washington, D.C., as an administrative aide with a concentration in computers for U.S. Rep. Chris Cox, a California Republican.

        Mr. Tooley said he is against abortion, favors using part of the federal budget surplus for a tax cut and does not believe in discrimination against homosexuals.

        “I don't believe in special rights for any group, including gays, but we don't need to discriminate against them or anyone else,” he said.

        Mr. Tooley also supports a permanent ban on Internet taxes and believes more money should be invested in the military and national defense.

        He vowed to run a “clean campaign” but had nothing good to say about Mr. Bell or Mr. Lucas.

        “Don Bell just wants to hold office,” Mr. Tooley said. “He must be looking for a pension and a nice place to retire.”

        Mr. Bell said Mr. Tooley doesn't sound like the kind of person who should be representing the interests of Kentucky voters.

        “He moved in one day, registered to vote, got a Kentucky driver's license and then filed to run for Congress,” Mr. Bell said. “How can he know anything about Kentucky?”

        Mr. Lucas, Mr. Tooley said, “has pulled the wool over the voters' eyes” by trying to act like a conservative and often voting with the Republicans on bills and issues before Congress.

        “It's a foregone conclusion that the Republicans will lose the House in the next election. And as soon as that happens and (Missouri Democrat) Dick Gephardt becomes speaker, Ken Lucas is going to be voting with the Democrats,” Mr. Tooley said.

        Mr. Lucas said he takes every contest seriously and is standing by his accomplishments in Congress.

        “I'll let my actions speak for themselves,” he said. “I'm proud of my record of protecting Social Security, cutting taxes and standing up for traditional Kentucky values.”

       



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