Sunday, November 12, 2000

Remembrance of things passed

        Here we go. Time for our annual post-election awards.

        • The Gumby Award. The Kentucky Democratic Party ran radio ads that accused Republican state Sen. Jack Westwood of voting to raise his pay as a lawmaker. But Mr. Westwood voted against raising his pay. So on what did the Dems base their claim that the Senator padded his own wallet?

        Because Mr. Westwood voted to put the constitutional amendment allowing annual sessions on the ballot, a measure that was approved by voters Tuesday night.

        The Dems claimed that since Mr. Westwood voted to put the question before the voters, he was indirectly voting to increase his pay, since approval of the amendment means lawmakers will meet more frequently.

        How is that for stretching the truth?

        • Most courageous Award. Mr. Westwood, for not only taking a lot of heat during the election without firing back but also for campaigning for months while his father, John, was dying.

        The elder Westwood passed on the Saturday before Election Day with funeral services held Election Day. But even with that hanging over his head, the younger Mr. Westwood maintained composure and class for most of the campaign.

        But not for all of the campaign, unfortunately. Mr. Westwood should have stayed and debated Mrs. Henson that crucial night in Covington. Ducking out was an awful thing to do to the folks who gathered for the debate and to the voters.

        He did win, however. So what do I know?

        • The Grassroots Award. Two winners here.

        The write-in candidates in Villa Hills. None of them won but they sure made the race interesting.

        And the members of Elsmere City Council who won election Tuesday but who really made their names rallying the community against a jail Kenton County had wanted to build in the city. Those candidates are Robert Northcutt, Neva Collins and Beth Wulfeck, proving once again you can fight city hall, or at least the fiscal court.

        • The Sleazeball Award. To the pols who questioned certain candidates' sexuality. You know who you are. Go crawl back under your rock.

        And to whoever sent out the nasty, anonymous, last-minute flier in the Kenton Circuit Clerk Court race, the one that trashed Democrat Mary Ann Woltenberg, the winner of the race. Take your classless act home.

        • The Not-So-Fast Award. Some Republicans were drooling over the vote count in the 4th District Congressional race, which Democratic incumbent Ken Lucas won by about 25,000 votes out of 233,807 cast.

        The GOP figures that if Mr. Lucas won by such a “slim margin” he'll be ripe to be defeated in two years.

        Before the Republicans start picking out a Capitol Hill office, they should consider that Mr. Lucas' opponent, Republican Don Bell, didn't actually put up the fight of the century. He had little money, less advertising, a scant organization and a platform that screamed “Vote for me because I have an R behind my name and George W. Bush is at the top of the ticket!”

        The Lucas forces didn't have to mobilize an all-out effort. In fact, chief Lucas aide John Lapp, instrumental in Mr. Lucas' 1998 win, spent the election season helping the Democrats capture Republican Rick Lazio's old House seat in Long Island, N.Y.

        In other words, GOP, beware the sleeping giant.

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


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