By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer
FORT THOMAS - Making his first official trip on the hustings, Republican Steve Pendery kicked off his 2004 congressional bid Wednesday with a formal campaign announcement in Ashland, an Ohio River city in the far-eastern corner of the 4th District.
Pendery, 49, elected in November to a second term as Campbell County judge-executive, will make his Northern Kentucky announcement in a speech scheduled for 5 p.m. today in his hometown of Fort Thomas.
Pendery, who served as mayor of Fort Thomas before winning his first countywide office in 1998, is running in a GOP primary that includes 2002 congressional nominee Geoff Davis of Boone County and Erlanger lawyer Kevin Murphy.
The 4th District seat is held by U.S. Rep. Ken Lucas, a Boone County Democrat, who last week broke a campaign promise not to seek more than three terms. Lucas announced last week he would be a candidate in 2004.
In addition to his Northern Kentucky campaign kickoff, Pendery will travel today to Oldham County - on the western edge of the district, near Louisville - for a similar announcement.
In a statement prepared by his campaign, Pendery said he is a "pro-life, pro-gun, anti-tax conservative with a 40-year history with the Republican Party, 20 as an elected official."
"I've spent my whole life in service to my community," he said.
"The bottom line is that I want to help make this a better place, for my family, my friends and people throughout the (4th) District. I'm ready for the challenge of representing this district in Washington, D.C., and I look forward to this campaign."
Pendery, the operator of a family owned insurance business in Fort Thomas, began his political career in 1984 when he was elected to Fort Thomas City Council. He served on council until 1990, when he was elected mayor. He won the 1998 county judge-executive race against longtime Democratic incumbent Ken Paul.
Pendery will run on a platform touting his experience while promoting his roots in the 4th District, where he has lived his entire life. By contrast, Davis is from Pittsburgh and has lived in Northern Kentucky for about a decade; Murphy is a native of New York City who has lived here for 25 years.
"I've lived in the 4th District my whole life, and I'm raising my family here," Pendery said. "I know this district. My kids go to public school here, so I know all about your educational needs. I know what our cities need by way of assistance from the federal government because I've run a city. I know what our counties need because I've run a county. I know what our businesses need because I've run a business. And I know what my fellow Republicans expect because I am Republican to the core."
"Steve's Republican credentials are unassailable," said Jeff Schlosser, a veteran GOP operative and a Pendery ally. "He's worked hard for the party, and has made a lot of friends as a result. This is a man people will rally around."
Pendery graduated from Highlands High School in Fort Thomas in 1972, Denison University in 1976 and Ohio State law school in 1979. He and his wife of 13 years, Dana, have two children.
Hate-crime law expanded
Heroin surprises Alexandria
Taft peddles huge tax increase
IN THE TRISTATE
Lockland to try levy again in Aug.
Cincinnati schools air upkeep plan
Norwood mayor clinging to office
Tax evasion scheme alleged
Krings contract debated
Tristate A.M. Report
PULFER: Speaking up
RADEL: Mourning Columbia
HOWARD: Some Good News
BUTLER, WARREN, CLERMONT
Liberty president in charge
Developers, township find common bond
2 Butler County commissioners dismiss allegations of perjury
Workers hit while installing I-75 safety barrier
Princeton schools to offer scaled-back bond issue
Talawanda weighs new bonds move
Trip to Honduras learning experience
Oliver in lead for judge opening
To shoot or not at center of Milford Township quail dispute
Grand jury declines to indict on porn charges
Nominee: Rule of law guides me
Even among the Amish, ice cutting today's nearly a lost art
Historic cabin gets change of scenery as runway looms
Patton goes ahead with budget plan
Pendery makes bid for congressional seat official
Ft. Thomas Army Reserve going on active duty status
Lawmakers push 'fetal homicide' bill
Senator proposes eliminating treasurer's job