Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Northup: Obviously, I Am Not Responsible

A staffer is responsible? As one is aware, politics has two options…. Blame someone or blame yourself.

From the Lexington Herald-Leader:

Despite saying otherwise, Republican gubernatorial candidate Anne Northup voted for a measure that led to the creation of Kentucky's lottery in 1988 when she served in the state legislature. "While serving in the state House, I voted against the lottery," she said in a written response to a questionnaire from The Associated Press.

However, records from the Legislative Research Commission show she favored putting a measure on the ballot so that voters could decide whether to approve the constitutional amendment that led to creation of the lottery. Campaign manager Michael Clingaman said a staffer who penned Northup's answer misstated her position. "There is no way we would have believed we could have hidden something like that," Clingaman said Monday.

Northup, a former U.S. representative from Louisville, is challenging Gov. Ernie Fletcher in a three-way race for the GOP nomination in the May 22 primary. Paducah businessman Billy Harper is also in the running. "It sounds to me like Anne Northup is trying to reinvent herself in this campaign, voting for the lottery and now saying she's against it," said Fletcher campaign manager Marty Ryall. "Now that she wants to run statewide, it's the remake of Anne Northup."

Harper said he is the only candidate willing to fight expanded gambling. Fletcher said he will not advocate an amendment to expand casino gambling. "Should the legislature choose to offer the issue to the voters, I would support allowing the voters to decide this issue."

Fletcher said he wouldn't personally vote for the amendment. "Those who seek and are elected to public office are obligated to make difficult decisions on behalf of the electorate," Harper said. "Neutrality is not leadership, and the other GOP candidates have chosen not to lead on this critical issue."

Clingaman said Northup's senior campaign staffers should have caught the misstatement on the questionnaire. "We didn't give that close enough scrutiny before it went out," he said. The AP's question was: Do you support casino gambling in Kentucky? Would you advocate for or against a constitutional amendment that would legalize casino gambling? Northup answered: "While serving in the state House I voted against the lottery, and as I have said gaming would be a tough sell for me personally. This issue should be decided by the General Assembly."

Clingaman said Northup voted for putting the lottery amendment question on the ballot because she believed Kentuckians wanted to vote on it. "Something she said dozens of times in this campaign is that she personally voted against it in the voting booth," Clingaman said.

Harper said he would lobby against a constitutional amendment. "We simply cannot base our future economy on the quicksand of hypothetical gambling revenues," he said.

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