Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Ky. statewide primary today

Hopefuls stumping down to the wire

By Joe Biesk
The Associated Press

LEXINGTON - Ernie Fletcher cast an absentee ballot, presumably for himself, before dashing off to a fund-raiser and a pair of rallies for his gubernatorial campaign Monday. Then it was a flight back to Washington for his day job - congressman for the 6th District.

A jammed schedule was the norm for Fletcher and other candidates for governor on the final full day of campaigning for today's Kentucky primary. Polling places will be open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Candidates for statewide offices:
Ben Chandler and Charlie Owen
Jody Richards and Tony Miller
Otis Hensley and Richard Robbins
Ernie Fletcher and Steve Pence
Steve Nunn and Bob Heleringer
Rebecca Jackson and Robbie Rudolph
Virgil Moore and Don Bell


Russ Maple
H. "Gippy" Graham
J. "Joe B." Lanter
Trey Grayson


Gregory Stumbo
Ed Hatchett
Chris Gorman
Jack Wood
Timothy Feeley
Philip Kimball


Crit Luallen
Jim Glenn
Michael Wayne Gayhart
Osi Onyekwuluje
Peppy Martin
Basha Cannon Roberts
Linda Greenwell


Jonathan Miller
Adam Koenig


Steve Meredith
Roy A. Massey
Glen D. Holbrook
Alice Woods Baesler
Barney Hornback
Joey Pendleton
Jimmy "Gabe" Turner
T.E. "Beck" Beckham
L.W. "Buck" Beasley
Richie Farmer

Democrat Jody Richards had an itinerary that took him nearly from one end of the state to the other. He began the day at breakfast with long-haul drivers at a truck stop near Ashland. He was going as far as Paducah.

In between, Richards ducked into Lexington's largest mall to shake hands and eat lunch - Chinese - in the mall's food court.

He still was savoring endorsements from two former rivals - Bruce Lunsford, who abruptly quit the race Friday, and Lt. Gov. Steve Henry, who organized a campaign for the nomination but stopped short of entering the primary. Richards said he sensed "a dynamic momentum change."

Richards' main Democratic opponent, Attorney General Ben Chandler, was ailing and had a badly rasping voice but campaigned in Mount Sterling and used a satellite truck to make himself available for news-hour television interviews. Chandler was ending the day with rallies at an electrical workers union hall in Louisville and in Versailles, his hometown.

Chandler told about 80 supporters at the Louisville event not to be complacent. "Don't think we've got it won," he said. "It's looking that good, but there's only one poll that counts, and that's the one that gets taken tomorrow."

Republican Rebecca Jackson stayed in Louisville, her political base. Steve Nunn spent the day in Louisville, then planned to campaign Monday night in Lexington.

Pollsters deemed Fletcher to be the Republican front-runner, but he was having none of it Monday.

"You never want to take anything for granted. Voters expect more than that, and they deserve more than taking an election for granted," Fletcher said. "We're out working very hard, letting them know we want their vote, and we appreciate it."

Jackson, a former clerk and judge-executive of Jefferson County, spent the day in her hometown, trying to drum up voter turnout. "It would be crucial to come out ahead in Jefferson County," Jackson said in a telephone interview.

A jammed schedule included morning talk radio, a popular medium for conservatives; catching factory workers during shift changes at both Ford truck plants; old-fashioned "meeting and greeting" of people downtown; and a prayer meeting by Jackson's volunteer "prayer committee" at her church, Highview Baptist. "It's very important. I am a woman of faith, and it is my top priority," she said.

Nunn also was on talk radio - the John Ziegler show on WHAS - which resulted in perhaps the most unusual exchange of the day. It was about Nunn's wife, Tracy.

Ziegler said there were "elements of her personality that kind of freak me out," such as at a previous appearance on his show, when the couple had to confer with each other before answering questions. "That, I thought, was a bit strange," Ziegler said.

Nunn said he thought Republicans "would be proud to have a husband and wife team, not only in a campaign but in the governor's office." He cited his mother, Beulah Nunn, an activist for historic preservation during and after the administration of his father, former Gov. Louie B. Nunn.

"After the last year or so with the governor and first lady's problems, I think it's refreshing to have a husband and wife who work together and understand each other," Nunn said, referring to strained relations between Gov. Paul Patton and first lady Judi Patton since the governor's disclosure of an extramarital affair.

Also on the ballot Tuesday are Republican Virgil Moore of Leitchfield and Democrat Otis Hensley of Wallins. Both have conducted limited campaigns.

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