Thursday, January 25, 2001

Kevin Bacon game loses some sizzle

Still, politics links many names in N. Kentucky

        I've heard there is this party game based on Six Degrees of Separation and it's played mostly by hip, young, cool people.

        Because I am neither hip nor young nor cool I don't know much about it, only that it has something to do with making connections among various people, places and events revolving around — can this be right? — their relationship to the actor Kevin Bacon.

        Since the only parties I go to anymore involve my son, Conor, and his 8-year-old friends — no Heineken, but lots of food being thrown and faux flatulence sounds — let's play our own game, the Six Degrees of Northern Kentucky Politics.

        • Seems as if those rumors about Rep. Jon Draud, R-Crestview Hills, possibly running for Congress are more than just rumors.

        Mr. Draud, the retired Ludlow schools superintendent and an instructor at Northern Kentucky University, is taking a serious look at taking on Democratic Rep. Ken Lucas in 2002.

        He is considering doing some polling to see how his name recognition stacks up against Mr. Lucas and plans to make some initial inquiries about raising money.

        Mr. Draud is nowhere close to making a decision, but he is giving the race a harder look than some local Republicans think.

        A lot of GOP leaders, particularly the party insiders, think Mr. Draud is too much of a maverick. That only encourages Mr. Draud.

        “Anybody who knows me,” he said, “knows I'm my own man and I can't be told what to do or how to vote by party insiders. I do what's best for the people, not the party.”

        Mr. Draud said he may not take the plunge, however, because there is much more to do in Frankfort, particularly in education, where he has already enjoyed success.

        Many of the party's big hitters want state Sen. Katie Stine, R-Fort Thomas, to run, so the GOP could be heading for a congressional primary in about a year.

        • Which leads us to our first connection. Mrs. Stine is married to Fred “Fritz” Stine, an assistant U.S. attorney in Covington.

        Mr. Stine has been rumored to be in line for the federal judge appointment that will open this year in Northern Kentucky. But recent speculation has put another assistant U.S. attorney, David Bunning of Fort Thomas, the son of U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning, in the judge's seat.

        Maybe. But the Associated Press reported Wednesday that David Bunning, an attorney since 1991, does not meet the American Bar Association recommendation that lawyers have 12 years' experience before heading to the federal bench.

        So this could be a more plausible scenario — Mr. Stine becomes the judge and David Bunning is elevated to U.S. attorney. Watch and see if that doesn't happen.

        Both Mr. Stine and David Bunning are Republicans.

        • That leads us to Republican Jay Hall, a member of the Republican State Central Committee and the former chairman of both the Boone County GOP and the 4th District Republican Party.

        Mr. Hall, a paralegal, has landed a new gig at the Crestview Hills law firm of Deters, Benzinger and LaVelle, where some of the region's leading Democrats practice law and politics.

        Among the firm's partners are Charlie Deters, Mark Guilfoyle and David Kramer, all heavily active in local Democratic politics. That ought to make for some interesting conversations — or maybe arguments — around the old water cooler.

        • That leads us to the Kenton County Democratic Party, which will pick a new chairman next week. Many Dems think the front-runner is another of the firm's attorneys, Patrick Hughes of Fort Wright.

        The son of Covington City Engineer Terry Hughes, Patrick Hughes is young and bright, a former member of the Jones and Patton administrations — he worked in the Finance Cabinet — and looks as if he stepped off a GQ cover.

        But he doesn't know Kevin Bacon. Which means this stupid game is over.

       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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