Wednesday, June 27, 2001

Ky. Politics


Congress race is heating up

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        Just back from a week covering Cincinnati City Hall politics, where behavior at city council meetings — shouting, obscenities, threats of violence, fights almost breaking out and lots of security — suggests the question:

        Is Jerry Springer back?

        A Wiley candidate: Republican Mike Wiley of Florence, who is trying to win next year's 4th Congressional District GOP primary, appears to be living up to his pledge to work hard for the nomination.

        He's spoken at Republican Party meetings in Campbell, Kenton and Trimble counties and is set to appear at the Greenup, Oldham and Grant county GOP meetings during the next few weeks.

        Mr. Wiley has also started releasing news releases.

        In one he defends the trip President Bush recently made to Europe. In the other he touts the Enumerated Powers Act, a bill requiring lawmakers to specify the constitutional authority of any law enacted.

        Mr. Wiley's news releases are sort of fun to read. He throws lots of bombs and comes up with some pretty catchy lines:

        Calling Hillary Rodham Clinton “the poster child for the Lunatic Left Wing of the Democratic Party.”

        Claiming President Bush “needs my help” in the 4th District.

        Relaying how he got into a “heated exchange” with someone at the Campbell County GOP meeting over trade. Mr. Wiley is against free trade with China because the Chinese are using the money to invest in arms for Cuba.

        “Nice trade policy, huh.”

        Elsewhere on the Congressional race front, Geoff Davis, the other Boone County Republican hoping to knock off Democratic incumbent Ken Lucas, also has been making the rounds.

        Mr. Davis attended the June 14 Northern Kentucky Divided — whoops, I mean “United” — event, spoke to a gathering of state GOP leaders last weekend in Fort Mitchell and is making inroads with the Northern Kentucky Chamber crowd, which has put Mr. Davis on its board of advisers.

        As far as incumbent Ken Lucas is concerned: He's been in Washington a lot lately, though he did make an appearance at the Outback Steakhouse 300 June 16 at the Kentucky Speedway.

        Mr. Lucas gets lots of mileage, and cash, out of being the only Democrat in Kentucky's Washington delegation. Kentucky House Speaker Jody Richards, a Democrat, held a fund-raiser for Mr. Lucas June 18 in his home district of Bowling Green.

        Mr. Richards, by the way, wants to be the next governor.

        And Friday night former Gov. Brereton Jones, a Democrat, will hold a fund-raiser for Mr. Lucas at his Woodford County horse farm.

        Mr. Jones, by the way, still wants to be the governor.

        Speaking of governors: Kentucky U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning, a Southgate Republican, was asked about the Republican side in the governor's race during his weekly call to reporters.

        Mr. Bunning said the Republicans have a stable of fine candidates including U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, U.S. Rep. Ernie Fletcher, Supreme Court Chief Justice Joseph Lambert and Jefferson County Judge-executive Rebecca Jackson.

        “We haven't had that quality of people wanting to seek the governorship since 1983,” Mr. Bunning joked, noting that was the year he ran but lost to Democrat Martha Layne Collins.

       Patrick Crowley covers Kentucky politics for the Enquirer. Call him at 578-5581; e-mail: pcrowley9@home.com.

       



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