Sunday, January 14, 2001

Politics


Glass man is outside looking in

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        Set that thermostat low after getting the most recent heating bill? Warm up to some Northern Kentucky politics, which always generates some heat.

        Woodlawn Republican Terry Rasche is planning to make another run at the Campbell County Commission seat held by Roland Vories, the Newport Democrat who has been a fixture in local politics for decades.

        Mr. Rasche, 50, took 48 percent of the vote in 1998 in barely losing to Mr. Vories by about 700 votes. He's already gearing up for the 2002 fiscal court election.

        “It think its time we had some new ideas and some new energy in that seat,” said Mr. Rasche. “Roland's a great guy, he's put in years and years of service. Heck, I'll even compliment him for being a sharp dresser.

        “But I think it's time for a change.”

        The owner of a small company that restores and makes stained-glass windows, and a real estate investor and salesman, Mr. Rasche said he has long been frustrated with the Campbell County Fiscal Court and how it deals with businesses.

        “They need to be more aggressive in recruiting businesses, they need to go out and talk to business owners and businesspeople about their concerns, needs and problems,” Mr. Rasche said.

        Mr. Rasche said his platform will include using changes in zoning laws and codes to attract development to areas where it is now prohibited.
       

A rising star
        The Kenton County GOP has lots of young talent either already in office or just waiting for a chance to run.

        But a Republican with a boatload of potential is Jeff Middendorf, 28, a juvenile crime prosecutor for Kenton County Attorney Garry Edmondson.

        This guy looks like a Kennedy, has the beliefs of U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning and already has a bunch of political experience. He worked on Capitol Hill and helped run Republican Bill Crockett's winning campaign in November's Kenton County Commonwealth Attorney's election.

        Insiders say Mr. Middendorf is being looked at as a future statehouse or even Congressional candidate.

        “He's got the whole package,” said one local GOP insider. “Brains. Looks. Experience. A lot of us can't wait to run him for office.”

        He may have to get in line if he wants the 4th Congressional seat now held by U.S. Rep. Ken Lucas, a Boone County Democrat.

        Two well-known GOP state office holders - Sen. Katie Stine of Fort Thomas and Crestview Hills' Jon Draud - are said to be seriously considering taking on Mr. Lucas in two years.
       

Banker cashes in
        Northern Kentucky Republicans are thrilled that Mike Duncan, a banker from eastern Kentucky, appears to be in line to be named treasurer of the Republican National Committee.

        Though he lives in Inez, Mr. Duncan has strong Northern Kentucky ties, including managing U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning's 1998 victory over Lexington Democrat Scotty Baesler.

        Mr. Duncan, as RNC treasurer, will also be one of the main party figures responsible for doling out campaign money to GOP candidates. That could be huge for the Republican candidate who tries to knock off Mr. Lucas in 2002 because U.S. House candidates typically have little problem attracting big wads of campaign dough.

        “This can only mean good things for our people as far as money is concerned,” said GOP media and political consultant Marc Wilson of Florence.

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

       



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