Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Herald-Leader Discusses The Second Half

Fletcher-Rudolph (R)

Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher is the most experienced candidate at picking lieutenant governor candidates. After all, Robbie Rudolph, the administration's secretary of the executive cabinet, is Fletcher's third running mate in four years.

Hunter Bates, former chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, was declared ineligible by a judge because of a question over his residency in 2003. Then Lt. Gov. Steve Pence dropped off Fletcher's ticket last May. "Granted, I've gone through a few lieutenant governors, but I've got the right one now," Fletcher said of Rudolph at the state Lincoln Day Dinner last month.

Rudolph served as No. 2 on former Jefferson County Judge-Executive Rebecca Jackson's slate against Fletcher in the 2003 primary. Rudolph said he was impressed that Fletcher called him the day after Fletcher won that primary to ask for his support. Fletcher named him as his replacement "wingman" the week after Pence split from the ticket last summer.

He has running mate selection experience? Bet he regrets said experience.

Harper-Wilson (R)

Republican Billy Harper, a construction company owner from Paducah, was searching for a running mate last August so he could start spending money on the race when he ran into his friend Dick Wilson at the Paducah Country Club golf course. They got to talking at lunch later, and Wilson signed on -- if only temporarily until Harper could find someone else from a different part of the state. "He said, 'Oh, it would be only about three or four weeks,'" Wilson said. Seven months later, he's still the guy.

Although Harper concedes that it's unconventional to have a running mate from the same county, he said it's most important to team up with someone he can trust, especially in light of the recent political marriages between Fletcher and Pence, and former Gov. Paul Patton and Lt. Gov. Steve Henry, that ended in spectacularly bitter fashion.

Trust is not important. Even a disgruntled Lieutenant Governor would not endorse a challenging opponent. Ladies and gentleman, Steve Pence.

Northup-Hoover (R)

Soon after former U.S. Rep. Anne Northup of Louisville decided to challenge Fletcher, she called Jeff Hoover, the state House Republican leader, to gauge his interest. The two knew each other, although admittedly not well. But after meetings on the weekend of Jan. 13-14, they agreed to run together.

Following exhaustive yell auditions, Hover was selected. During Northup Idol, Hoover said “Fletcher can’t win,” more than one hundred times.

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