Friday, June 01, 2001

Fund-raiser season help parties gird for 2002

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        VILLA HILLS — Though no elections are scheduled in 2001, Northern Kentucky's political parties are raising money and building support anyway.

        Events held this week show how party leaders, contributors and activists are spending time preparing for the 2002 elections, when congressional, Kentucky statehouse, county and some local races will be decided.

        • The Campbell County Republican Party's Lincoln 100 — a group to which each member contributes $100 annually to help fund the GOP's courthouse candidates — held a Wednesday night reception in Fort Thomas featuring U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning, a Southgate Republican.

        About 70 people attended, said Campbell County GOP Chairwoman Barb Haas.

        “It wasn't a fund-raiser,” Mrs. Haas said. “It was more of an appreciation for the people who have joined the Lincoln 100, which is a fairly new organization for us.”

        • Kenton County Judge-executive Dick Murgatroyd, a Villa Hills Republican, held a campaign fund-raiser Thursday night that his campaign expected to raise $50,000.

        • The Kenton County Democrats' Truman Club — a group similar to the Campbell County GOP's Lincoln 100 — raised about $5,000 during a luncheon Thursday at the Villa Hills home of Doug and Gina Clemons.

        Attending were U.S. Rep. Ken Lucas, a Boone County Democrat representing Kentucky's 4th District; U.S. Rep. Baron Hill of Indiana, a Democrat who represents Southeastern Indiana; and Kentucky House Speaker Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green, who plans to seek the party's nomination in the 2003 gubernatorial primary in a field that is expected to include Attorney General Ben Chandler, Lt. Gov. Steve Henry and former Gov. Brereton Jones.

        • Mr. Lucas held a campaign fund-raiser Thursday night at Triple Crown Country Club in Richwood, where he lives.

        Other area officeholders have also recently held campaign fund-raisers, including Campbell County Attorney Justin Verst, Campbell County Coroner Mark Schweitzer and Kenton County Jailer Terry Carl.

        “This is the time of year when you want to be out keeping people interested and getting ready for the next elections,” Mrs. Haas said. “Our Lincoln 100 didn't hold a fund-raiser this week, but we will in the future to raise money our candidates for countywide office will need next year.”

        Mr. Hill told the 60 or so Democrats at Thursday's Truman Club event that off-year events and party building makes the difference in elections.

        “I know it's hard work, but your participation in getting people elected to office is very important,” said Mr. Hill, who represents Indiana's 9th Congressional District.

        “I'm impressed with this crowd today. Obviously you are going to make things happen. And anybody who gets together ... to beat those damn Republicans, I'm for you,” Mr. Hill said to loud laughter and applause.

        Many of those at Thursday's event were talking about Vermont Sen. James Jeffords, who left the Republican Party to become an independent. That move gives Democrats the Senate majority and Mr. Jeffords has pledged to vote with the party on many issues.

        Mr. Lucas said Mr. Jeffords' switch will put legislation on “the fast track,” including bills dealing with a prescription-drug benefit for seniors, a patients' bill of rights and campaign finance reform.

        Mr. Richards will give tonight'scommencement address at Holmes High School in Covington.

        Asked if he is also working to build support for his gubernatorial run, Mr. Richards smiled before saying, “maybe a little.”


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