Saturday, June 01, 2002

GOP has eye on Fletcher

Rep. to announce whether he'll run for governor

The Associated Press

        FRANKFORT, Ky. — Sixth District U.S. Rep. Ernie Fletcher, who has been encouraged by many in his party to jump into the 2003 gubernatorial campaign, will announce his intentions on Monday.

        Mr. Fletcher has scheduled a news conference in the Capitol to make a “major announcement” regarding the governor's race, according to a press release. He is expected to announce the creation of a gubernatorial exploratory committee.

        Mr. Fletcher did not return calls for comment Friday.

        Republicans who have already formed exploratory committees include Jefferson County Judge-executive Rebecca Jackson and state Rep. Steve Nunn of Glasgow. State Sen. Virgil Moore of Leitchfield and educator Bert Minton of Somerset have also created exploratory committees.

        Under campaign finance law, individuals can raise and spend up to $90,000 for such things as polling and other campaign related items without becoming a formal candidate.

        A congressman since 1998, Mr. Fletcher is believed to be the gubernatorial choice of many in the GOP establishment. He also served a term in the Kentucky House.

        Mr. Fletcher has no opponent for re-election and would not have to give up his seat in Congress to run for governor. He would have to resign if elected.

        Democrats who have created gubernatorial exploratory committees are House Speaker Jody Richards, Attorney General Ben Chandler and Louisville businessman Charlie Owen. Lt. Gov. Steve Henry has not yet created his own committee but is expected to do so.


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