Thursday, January 18, 2007

Objection! You’re Endorsing Him?

Once indicted Governor garners judicial support.
From the Bowling Green Daily News:

Southcentral Kentucky Republican judge-executives are pooling their support for the re-election of Gov. Ernie Fletcher and calling on others to join them.

A support letter was issued Tuesday - a day before Fletcher's visit to Bowling Green - and was signed by 10 county judge-executives, including those in Allen, Barren, Butler, Edmonson, Simpson and Warren counties.

Fletcher will be at the Carroll Knicely Conference Center at 5 p.m. today for a town hall meeting to get public input on spending the state's budget surplus.

"It's something some of us have been talking about for a number of weeks," said Simpson County Judge-Executive Jim Henderson. "The governor is coming to Bowling Green today so we wanted to get it together by the time he was here so he would know he had our support. ... I realize it's getting close to the filing time ... and we wanted to make sure other candidates knew he had our support."

Henderson said that last week three northern Kentucky Republican judge-executives issued their support of the governor. "I don't think it's anything unusual for seated judge-executives to issue support for an incumbent governor of their party," Henderson said.

The race for governor is getting more crowded on both sides of the aisle. Former Louisville Congresswoman Anne Northrup said she would join the Republican race that already includes Paducah businessman Billy Harper.

House Speaker Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green, is mulling a run in the primary that includes former Lt. Gov. Steve Beshear, state Treasurer Jonathan Miller and Otis Hensley Jr., of Harlan and possibly former Lt. Gov. Steve Henry.

Judge-executives supporting Fletcher say that he kept his word in creating economic opportunities for the state and eliminated waste in government, saving taxpayers money. They are also touting the money spent on roads and infrastructure in southcentral Kentucky. During that time, the region also saw Democratic leadership from Richards and Rob Wilkey of Scottsville and previously Roger Thomas of Smiths Grove, who worked to garner projects for the area.

"That's not unique to this election cycle," Henderson said of Richards' potential run. "It very well could have been an issue four years ago when he ran. But I'm sure that complicates things for some folks."

Henderson said the judge-executives felt compelled to support Fletcher because he has been good to southcentral Kentucky and recognizes "that we play an important part in the state."

While the region in earlier years may have been considered mostly Democrat, the 10 counties in the Barren River Area Development District now boast that eight of the 10 county judge-executives are Republican, something Henderson says is unusual. As for criticism that Fletcher won't have a good showing in the election because of past problems, including the hiring scandal, Henderson is still confident.

"Certainly I would prefer we had a non-contested primary for an incumbent governor," he said. "But there are a lot of folks who have speculated that a healthy primary could be good for governor, when he emerges as a winner and shows he is strong enough to get elected."

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