Monday, July 08, 2002

Hastert campaigns in N.Ky.

House speaker raises money for GOP congressional candidate

By Stephenie Steitzer,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        UNION — U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert helped Republican Geoff Davis pick up the fund-raising pace this weekend, earning $100,000 in one night for Mr. Davis' campaign against Rep. Ken Lucas.

        Mr. Davis had collected only $150,000 during the past three months in a series of fund raisers.

        But at a Friday night reception in Union, more than 300 Northern Kentucky Republicans boosted the campaign of Mr. Davis, a Hebron business consultant who has never held public office.

        The Friday night haul will bring his total campaign fund to about $510,000, federal campaign statements show. But he still lags behind his opponent, a two-term incumbent, who raised $863,000 by the end of June.

        The Republican National Congressional Committee targeted the race between Mr. Davis and Mr. Lucas in the mostly Republican-leaning, 22-county congressional district for its support.

        The fund raiser at the home of Richard Knock, Mr. Davis' finance chairman, was part of an effort to bring in national Republican figures to attract attention to the little-known congressional candidate.

        “I think it speaks volumes that the speaker would come here and campaign for Geoff Davis this early,” said Davis campaign spokesman Marc Wilson.

        A spokesman for Mr. Hastert was not available for comment Sunday.

        House Republican Leader Dick Armey helped Mr. Davis raise $25,000 in June, and Mr. Wilson said he expects House Majority Whip Tom DeLay to visit Northern Kentucky in the near future.

        Kentucky state Sen. Dick Roeding, R-Lakeside Park, said the speaker told the crowd he needs more Republicans in the House to pass more Republican-sponsored legislation.

        Even though Mr. Lucas often supports President Bush and the GOP agenda in the House, Mr. Roeding said that isn't enough.

        “I'm not satisfied with sometimes,” Mr. Roeding said. “I think we have an opportunity to gain a Republican seat in Congress, and people are starting to take notice.”

        Mr. Roeding expects the Davis campaign to raise more money as “he warms to the subject and as people know more about him.”


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