Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Lucas decides: `I am a Democrat'

Ky. representative rejects GOP switch

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

FORT MITCHELL - Ken Lucas is staying put.

Resisting overtures from Kentucky's top congressional Republicans, U.S. Rep. Ken Lucas announced Tuesday that he will remain a Democrat and not switch parties.

After two days of being worked by members of Congress from both parties - Republicans who wanted him to leave, Democrats who wanted him to stay - Mr. Lucas said late Tuesday afternoon that "the speculation should stop now."

"I am a Democrat," Mr. Lucas said in a statement. "I've always been a Democrat ... and the sensational speculation to the contrary should now end, permanently."

After Mr. Lucas indicated Monday that he was considering the switch, Northern Kentucky Democrats were thrilled to hear that the three-term Congressman who escaped with a narrow victory Nov. 5 over Republican Geoff Davis would remain in the fold.

"I'm very pleased," said Campbell County Democratic Party Chairman Terry Mann.

Mr. Lucas, the only Democrat in Kentucky's eight-member Congressional delegation, was recruited by Congressional Republicans, including Kentucky U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, Kentucky U.S. Rep. Ernie Fletcher of Lexington and House Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois. They may have sensed an opportunity: Since the election, Mr. Lucas has been publicly critical of moves by the Democratic Party.

"Let there be no mistake that I have strong disagreements with some of my party's national leadership on issues important to me," Mr. Lucas said Tuesday. "Cutting taxes, a robust national defense and principled support of life and the Second Amendment.

"These differences will remain, and I will continue to speak out actively and responsibly," he said.


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