Sunday, April 27, 2003

Rogers joins GOP hopefuls for Lucas' seat



By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

ALEXANDRIA - Former Campbell County Judge-executive Lloyd Rogers has joined an already-crowded field of Republicans running in the 4th Congressional District primary in 2004.

Though the primary is more than a year away, Rogers, 69, an Alexandria resident who served as county judge-executive from 1982 to 1986, is getting somewhat of a late start. Already running:

• Boone County business consultant Geoff Davis, who ran unsuccessfully for the seat last year. He has raised about $218,000 for his campaign.

• Campbell County Judge-executive Steve Pendery, Fort Thomas, who has raised about $100,000.

• Erlanger lawyer Kevin Murphy, who has also raised about $100,000.

The winner will take on Democratic U.S. Rep. Ken Lucas of Boone County, who has dumped his pledge to serve just three terms and will run for a fourth term in office next year.

Rogers has not begun raising money but said he has plenty of time to catch up.

"We need to get Ken Lucas out of there because he is a Democrat in Republican clothing," Rogers said. "I have never lost a Republican primary, and I can win this race because I know how to organize and run a true grass-roots campaign. And no one will outwork me."

Rogers ran for Campbell County commissioner in 2002. He won the GOP primary over Mark Stoeber, who went on to be elected mayor of Cold Spring. But Rogers lost the general election to incumbent Democrat Bill Verst.

Rogers also lost his 1986 re-election bid for judge-executive and the 1998 race for Alexandria mayor.

Still, Rogers is known as a tireless and passionate campaigner who has also held positions of power in the Campbell County Republican Party.

Rogers supported Davis in the 2002 race, which Davis barely lost to Lucas.

"I liked Geoff Davis because like me, he is a military man," Rogers said. "But he had a chance, and he lost. So it's time for someone who can win."

Justin Brasell, spokesman for the Davis campaign, said Rogers' candidacy is good news for Geoff Davis.

"Rogers and Pendery are both from Campbell County," Brasell said. "Rogers will take enough of Steve Pendery's base that (Pendery) has no hope of winning the primary."

"The Geoff Davis campaign would cite a full moon as proof Steve's candidacy is in trouble," said Pendery campaign spokesman Joe Shields.

Pendery and Rogers have something of a political history.

Rogers managed the campaign of Republican Tim Nolan in the 1998 Campbell County judge-executive primary, which Nolan lost to Pendery.

Rogers said Pendery should not win the nomination because he supported an increase in the county's occupational tax and he failed to offer strong support to Republicans on the 2002 ballot. Rogers was on the ballot because of his commissioner's race.

"Republicans don't like higher taxes, and they don't like someone who doesn't help other Republicans," Rogers said.

On Rogers' comments, Shields would only say that he will "certainly make the race more interesting."

Rogers said his platform would include:

• Lower taxes and a leaner federal government.

• Protecting Social Security and Medicare while supporting an "adequate" prescription drug benefit for seniors.

• Supporting legislation designed to reduce or end abortions.

• Opposing legislation or efforts to diminish gun rights.

Rogers, a U.S. Navy veteran, worked as supervisor and engineer for Cincinnati Bell for 31 years, retiring in 1982. He now works as a Realtor and has self-published two books, one a guide on how to run campaigns and the other a book of jokes about Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Rogers was born in Bracken County and graduated from Newport High School in 1951. He and his wife of 49 years, Blanche, have two grown sons.

E-mail pcrowley@enquirer.com




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