Sunday, December 10, 2000

Many wait for shot at Lucas seat

        Thanks but no thanks. U.S. Rep. Ken Lucas, a Boone County Democrat, scored an easy victory in the Nov. 7 election, winning a second term representing Kentucky's 4th Congressional District. But speculation has already started about the Republicans who may or may not challenge him in 2002.

        Kenton County Judge-executive Dick Murgatroyd, a Villa Hills Republican, is definitely out of the running in two years.

        But he wouldn't go so far as to say he won't run in 2004. That's when Mr. Lucas could step down, if he follows his own self-imposed term limit of six years in the House.

        State Rep. Jon Draud, a Crestview Hills Republican, says he is thinking about running in 2002 or 2004.

        And state Sen. Katie Stine of Fort Thomas, also a Republican, is said to be thinking about getting in the 2002 race but is a near-definite for 2004.

        On the Democratic side, no solid names have emerged to run once Mr. Lucas gives up the seat, though many Democrats think Erlanger lawyer Bill Robinson might.

Leaders staying put
               The two Northern Kentucky state lawmakers in legislative leadership positions appear unlikely to draw any opposition during the General Assembly's early January organizational session.

        Reports out of Frankfort have House Majority Caucus Chairman Jim Callahan, D-Wilder, and Senate President pro-tem Dick Roeding, R-Lakeside Park, being elected for another two years.

        Lawmakers will meet the first week of January to elect leaders and make committee assignments. They'll return to Frankfort on Feb. 6 for a 30-day session made possible by a constitutional amendment voters approved last month.

A job well done
               Because he is up for re-election in 2002, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, a Louisville Republican, has stepped down as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

        The committee is charged with winning Senate seats for GOP candidates. Though the Republicans lost four seats this year, pundits have given Mr. McConnell high marks for his work.

        University of Virginia political science professor Larry Sabato, one the nation's leading authorities on Congress, said Mr. McConnell performed well in the two major goals of the committee chairman - raising money and recruiting candidates.

        Mr. McConnell raised $163 million over four years. And among the candidates he recruited was Southgate Republican Jim Bunning, the former House member who won a Senate seat in 1998.

        “One person cannot determine the results of Senate elections,” Mr. Sabato said. “McConnell succeeded in an important way in that he raised a ton of money.”

Wait and see
               A couple of local government decisions we're waiting on:

        • Where the Kenton County Fiscal Court will build a new county jail. We may get that info at Tuesday's fiscal court meeting.

        • And the replacement for Covington City Solicitor Joe Condit, who resigned two days after Butch Callery was elected mayor Nov. 7.

        Former state Sen. Joe Meyer of Covington, a Callery ally, is expected to be named to the post. As one Democrat close to city hall politics put it, “It's a done deal. Meyer is in.”



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