Friday, May 11, 2007

Fletcher, Northup Commence Riot

As previously stated, Fletcher and Northup are intent on destroying one another. Watch, as they claw each other’s eyes out and light each other on fire… on television!

Campaign quickies: R wars and D spats

1. In my Wednesday column (written Tuesday afternoon), I noted that a good guide for judging the effectiveness of former U.S. Rep. Anne Northup's stepped-up attacks on Gov. Ernie Fletcher's record would be the level of the response from the Fletcher camp. Not long after I typed those words, the Fletcher camp started firing back at Northup. In the 48 hours since, this primary has become the Republican bloodletting everyone predicted. The Northup and Fletcher campaigns are slinging ads and press releases at each other like one is a Hatfield and the other is a McCoy.

2. If the fierceness of Fletcher's counterattacks against Northup indicates a tightening in that race, the way other Democratic wannabes went after former Lt. Gov. Steve Beshear on the subject of gambling at a Frankfort forum Tuesday suggests there are polls in that race showing Beshear at or near the lead.

3. In the LOL category, we have a quote from Fletcher campaign manager Marty Ryall in today's H-L story on Fletcher's refusal to disclose the names of contributors to his secret legal defense fund. Responding to the possibility that contributors to the fund might be repaid with appointments, Ryall said, "That's not the way this governor does business. People are appointed on their merits."

Northup, Fletcher step up attacks

After launching attack ads Tuesday, Gov. Ernie Fletcher and opponent Anne Northup fired off another round of political spit wads yesterday. Northup, one of two challengers to Fletcher in the May 22 GOP primary, called on Fletcher to immediately release the names of donors to a legal defense fund that will pay his bills from the state hiring investigation. Her campaign suggested that Fletcher might be trading political favors for donations to the fund.

Fletcher responded by accusing the former U.S. representative from Louisville of violating congressional ethics rules in 2002. The third candidate, Paducah businessman Billy Harper, said the ethics accusations coming from both sides have merit. But don't expect him to join the name-calling anytime soon, said press secretary Sam Edelen. "Billy's just keeping his head down, working hard and watching the mud fly over," Edelen said.

Northup and Fletcher attack again

After slinging mud all day Tuesday, Gov. Ernie Fletcher and opponent Anne Northup started shooting political spit wads at one another this afternoon. In a news release, Northup called on Fletcher to immediately release the names of donors to a fund set up earlier this year that will pay his lawyer bills related to the state hiring investigation. Lt. Gov. Steve Pence blasted his boss.

Fletcher's Counterstrike Begins

When Northup filed to challenge Fletcher last year, I thought Anne was making a huge mistake. She was a moderate Republican representing the moderate city of Louisville. Outside of Louisville and Lexington the state is much more conservative on social and economic issues. This means that only 1/4th of the state had similar political leanings of Northup. I am defining her political leanings as shown by her votes in both the state legislature and congress.

Fletcher on the other hand has always been more conservative than Northup and won the 6th district race because he swept the rural areas outside of Lexington. That means that Fletcher had 3/4 of the state with similar leanings. So Northup's only choice was to run a slash and burn strategy to disenfranchise Fletcher with the conservatives in the state. A strategy with which she has executed with great precision. I don't know how effective it has been, but it has been well executed. Why do I say this? Take for example the recent "scandal" over paying for campaign trips.

Northup disputes Fletcher's ad, Fletcher announces support.

A day after the mini "slugfest" continued on TV, the Northup ticket has released the following statement in response to Fletcher's ad posted below: Yesterday Ernie Fletcher went on the attack with his new television ad, misleading voters into thinking that Anne Northup voted against school prayer and for a massive tax increase.

Fletcher responds to Northup; then she fires back

Here is the response from Fletcher campaign spokesman Marty Ryall to the call by Anne Northup to release the contributors to the governor's legal defense fund.

Marty Ryall, Campaign Manager for Governor Ernie Fletcher, said today, “Anne Northup is the last person who should be preaching to anyone about ethics.”

“In 2002 Anne Northup used her position on the Appropriations Committee to funnel $5 million dollars to a charity that she founded and was a board member. This was a direct violation of Congressional ethics rules,” Ryall said.

Now, here is the retort from the Northup camp.

Ernie Fletcher is clearly desperate to change the subject and would love to dredge up old news all day long. Anne Northup did not have any personal, financial or political gain in servicing the most at risk parts of the community she represented while in Congress.

As to his claim that she should have changed the law while in the state House—you don’t need a law to know the difference between right and wrong. Since Ernie Fletcher does not understand that he finds himself on his last political leg.

Governor Hits Back at Northup

I don't pretend to be a political strategist, but I've always heard that when you're safely ahead you don't acknowledge your opponents attacks. Does the fact that the Governor's campaign has gone on the attack against Anne Northup reflect a sense that things are going south? There's no question Anne Northup is the underdog going into the homestretch. But if there's a closer in the world who can close this gap, it's Anne Northup. As Mitch McConnell said of her surge in the final days of her first Congressional race: "Anne seemed to just will the SOB out of office." Can history repeat itself?

Northup: Fletcher owes more $$ for campaign trips

Republican gubernatorial candidate Anne Northup says Gov. Ernie Fletcher owes more money for campaigning on state time, mainly incurring costs related to travel to events that included the 4th District GOP dinner. Fletcher has already repaid about $20,000. Here is the Northup statement. Love the truffles comment.

Fletcher responds to Northup

Gov. Ernie Fletcher has released this statement in response to Anne Northup calling on him to reimburse taxpayers for his campaign expenses. In response to Anne Northup’s continual negative attacks on Governor Fletcher, Marty Ryall said today, “The hypocrisy of Anne Northup knows no bounds. The Governor has gone well above what is required in regard to his travel. She should climb off her high horse for a few minutes and pay back the federal government for her congressional mailings that were seen as campaign related.”

1 comment:

Joe Altsheler said...

Interesting analysis. I'm an old hillbilly Democrat, probably more moderate than some of my Democratic friends. It does seem the Ky Republican Party is in more disaray than in past elections.

Do you think this means McConnell's ability to control the party is slipping? I'm not sure myself, but it's does seem Republicans all over the country are in the same shape.

Though a Democrat, I've always had great respect for the conservative point of view, especially looking back at great men like John Sherman Cooper. I think the neocon movement has done much to harm the party and suspect the sooner they're out of power the better for the party and the country. Just my opinion.
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