Saturday, October 05, 2002

Foes share desire for Bush link

TV campaigns of Lucas, Davis show president

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        ERLANGER - The campaign ads for Northern Kentucky Congressional candidates Ken Lucas and Geoff Davis have something in common­ George W. Bush.

        The president's image shows up in the ads that hit the airwaves this week for both Mr. Davis, the Republican challenger, and Mr. Lucas, the Democratic incumbent.

        The ads indicate how much each side wants to be associated with the president.

        Both ads are running on network affiliates in the Cincinnati market. Neither campaign would comment on how much their ads' production or airtime cost.

        Mr. Davis' ad shows a picture of the candidate and Mr. Bush and a graphic that reads “Bush endorses Geoff Davis.” It is narrated by Boone County resident and GOP leader Bob Williams, a World War II veteran who parachuted into Normandy during the Allies' D-Day invasion of Europe.

        In Mr. Lucas' ad, the president is shown in a picture with the Democratic congressman as a voiceover tells of how “Congressman Ken Lucas supported President Bush on cutting taxes and on education reform.”

        Though a Democrat, Mr. Lucas often votes with the Republicans and is using his relationship with Mr. Bush as one of the major themes of his re-election campaign in the Fourth District.

        The district, which spans from Ashland in the east to near Louisville in the west, is one of the most socially and politically conservative areas of Kentucky. Mr. Bush carried the region in 2002 by 16 percentage points.

        “Ken Lucas has supported the president on pretty much every major initiative he has proposed to Congress,” said Lucas campaign manager Ben Davis. “Trade Promotion Authority, tax cuts, education reform. This ad really tells our story about that.”

        Mr. Davis is anxious to attach his campaign to Mr. Bush, who is popular in the Republican-leaning district.

        Mr. Davis said the president's endorsement of his campaign “makes it very clear who he wants to be the next congressman from this district.”

        Asked about Mr. Bush showing up in the Lucas ad, Mr. Davis said the president is “trying to maintain a bipartisan atmosphere” in Congress.

        The Davis camp is holding out hope that Mr. Bush will make a campaign visit to the Fourth District before Election Day. Though the president is scheduled to be in Cincinnati on Monday night for a policy speech on Iraq, there are no plans to stump in Northern Kentucky for Mr. Davis.

        “There are going to be no political events for the president on this trip,” said Marc Wilson, a consultant to the Davis campaign.

        Mr. Davis is also rolling out two more ads - one television, one radio.

        The second television ad features Kentucky U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning, a Southgate Republican who held the Fourth District seat for 12 years before being elected to Congress in 1998.

        “I'm proud to see Geoff Davis running for my old job,” Mr. Bunning says in the ad. “Geoff Davis is the kind of man I want for my congressman.”

        Mr. Wilson said the ad was shot “weeks ago” and was not a response to political speculation that Mr. Lucas may challenge Mr. Bunning in the 2004 Senate race.

        “We're very honored to have Jim Bunning's kind words,” Mr. Davis said. “It reemphasizes my message of leadership.”

        Mr. Davis is also airing a radio ad in the far western end of the district near Louisville that features former Congressman Gene Snyder, the Oldham County Republican.

        Mr. Snyder held the Fourth District seat for 20 years prior to Mr. Bunning's election.

        The ad features a well-known political jingle Mr. Snyder used in his campaigns.

        Ben Davis said the Lucas camp is not worried about Mr. Bunning and Mr. Snyder appearing in Geoff Davis' ads.

        “Our ads show a substantive record of leadership,” Ben Davis said. “They are not about shallow political endorsements.”


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