Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Patton's ex-cabinet leader to run

By Charles Wolfe
The Associated Press

FRANKFORT - Crit Luallen, who resigned as the head of Gov. Paul Patton's executive cabinet citing the scandal of his extramarital affair, launched a campaign for state auditor Monday.

At a hurriedly arranged announcement and rally, Ms. Luallen put distance between herself and her former boss and said she "will be prepared to answer" any questions about her own administration role, which ended Jan. 15.

"I haven't agreed with every action that has been taken by the administration," she said.

Ms. Luallen, 50, is a Democrat and the only formal candidate for auditor from either party as of Monday afternoon. The filing deadline is today. The two-term incumbent, Ed Hatchett, cannot run again because of term limits and is running for attorney general.

Ms. Luallen was with Mr. Patton's administration at its beginning in 1995. At the time of her departure, she was secretary of the cabinet, the person to whom all other heads of state government reported.

She said she decided to leave the administration after Mr. Patton admitted to an affair with Tina Conner, who owned a nursing home in Clinton.

Eugenia Crittenden Blackburn Luallen bears the names of two illustrious ancestors, John J. Crittenden and Luke P. Blackburn, who were governors during the 19th century.

Ms. Luallen has been in and out of state government for years. She was finance secretary and tourism secretary under Gov. Brereton Jones, Mr. Patton's predecessor, and was arts commissioner for Gov. Martha Layne Collins.

Between administrations, she was president of the Greater Louisville Economic Development Partnership and a senior public affairs manager for Humana Inc.

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