Wednesday, July 19, 2000

Bush plans Covington tour stop

Kentucky gaining in importance

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — Texas Gov. George W. Bush's path to the Republican presidential nomination will go through Northern Kentucky.

        Covington is one of the scheduled stops on a tour Mr. Bush will begin next week from Texas on his way to Philadelphia, site of the Republican National Convention that runs July 31 to Aug. 3.

        Details of his July 29 Northern Kentucky visit, including the time and location, are still being worked out, but local GOP leaders are trying to secure a site in Devou Park.

        “We'd love to get the area around the Memorial Building in the park because it has such a great view,” said Kenton County Republican Party Chairman Greg Shumate, a Villa Hills lawyer.

        Mr. Bush will also visit Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio, as part of the Countdown to Convention tour.

        The local visit by Mr. Bush underscores the importance of Kentucky to the Republican Party and the growth of Northern Kentucky as a GOP base of power, party leaders said Tuesday.

        “You just don't realize what a reputation we have as a stronghold of Republican politics until you travel outside the area,” said Boone County Jailer John Schickel, a delegate to the nominating convention.

        In the last two presidential elections Republican candidates Bob Dole and George Bush — George W. Bush's father — carried Northern Kentucky but lost the state to Democrat Bill Clinton.

        Mr. Bush is stopping in five states the Republicans have not carried since 1988 — Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri and West Virginia.

        Before coming to Covington, Mr. Bush's tour will stop in Owensboro, Ky., and Louisville.

        States the size of Kentucky — with just eight electoral votes — don't typically demand such attention from presidential campaigns. But Kentucky has a history of picking winners, having gone with the winner every year since 1964.


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