Friday, April 27, 2007

Kentucky Pachyderm 2 Pummels Queen Anne

On his site, former Fletcher spokesman Brett Hall is reporting a confrontation between Anne Northup and State Sen. Robert Stivers that took place earlier this week in Stivers' hometown of Manchester. (The Lexington Herald-Leader has a slightly different take penned by Ryan Alessi in Friday's edition.) Hall says that Northup threatened Stivers, a strong Ernie Fletcher supporter, with a recruited primary opponent.

He further reports that Stivers called Senate President David Williams, who in turn called a Mitch McConnell operative who's a strong Northup supporter, and that conversation was followed in short order by a mea culpa call from Northup to Stivers. If this really happened, and we have no reason to believe that it didn't go down as Hall described it, Northup may have just shot herself in the foot in a staunchly Republican area of the state. Stivers represents the counties of Knox, Clay, Owsley, Lee, Wolfe, Morgan and Magoffin.

The first four are part of the so-called "old 5th" that is the most heavily GOP region of Kentucky. Wolfe remains a Democrat stronghold, but Republicans are on the rise in Morgan and Magoffin. Incidentally, Ernie Fletcher's father spent his childhood in Magoffin County and the governor still has plenty of relatives there. Stivers is very highly thought of in his district and it would be very hard to recruit a challenger who could beat him. Stivers is active in community affairs in most all of his counties.

Northup is picking on the wrong person if she's trying to pick a fight with him. Fundraising numbers posted on Hall's site also show that this is Fletcher country. Northup has received contributions from only two of the counties in Stivers' district, $3,750 in Knox and $350 in Morgan. We have it on good authority that when Fletcher recently attended a public event in one of the smaller counties in Stivers' district, one in which no corresponding fund-raiser was planned, he went home with a similar amount for his campaign.

Fletcher is very popular in this region and many loyal Republicans view Northup with disdain and outright dislike for challenging the incumbent instead of throwing her full support behind him. This is the second really dumb thing Northup has done in the last month or so. Remember this report in which Northup explained her no-show at the Kentucky Press Association's candidate forum by saying she didn't want share the stage with the Democrat candidates and have to listen to what they had to say?

That wasn't exactly the brightest thing to say in a state where Democratic registration still outpaces GOP registration. Now she threatens to "primary" a very popular state senator who happens to support the incumbent governor? Not real bright. Of course it'll be hard for Northup to recruit an opponent for Stivers from her position as an ex-Member of Congress and failed gubernatorial candidate, which is what she'll be after May 22. And it's highly possible her threat to Stivers will be a key reason why she'll lose next month.

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