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.

Scorched Air

From Bryant’s Political Blog:


I have always kept a close check on who’s buying and inquiring about t-v time. It’s a matter of public record. It looks like Governor Fletcher is about to launch his re-election campaign’s first spots. Those are set to go next Tuesday. His campaign manager won’t say a word about their content. He told me… "I can’t devulge our media strategy."


Apparently challengers Anne Northup and Billy Harper are likely to hit about the same time Fletcher does. For Harper, it’s a matter of going back on the air after taking a short hiatus. Harper made it clear on WKYT’s "Kentucky Newsmakers" program that he’s prepared to try to take advantage if Fletcher and Northup go nuclear on each other with their campaigns.

Harper will seek advantage if the Fletcher-Northup showdown becomes nuclear? These two campaigns will destroy one another. They will claw each other’s eyes out and light each other on fire… on television!

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah!

From the Lexington Herald-Leader:

The House is leaning toward keeping the runoff election for the governor's race but providing counties with state funds to pay for it, several key lawmakers said Monday. "It is somewhat split, but not to the level that it was," said Rep. Charlie Hoffman, Democratic caucus chairman. "From what I've heard, the growing stance seems to be in the realm of keeping it and funding it."

The runoff provision, a leftover measure from election reforms of 1992, would kick in after the May 22 primary if no candidate for governor in a party received at least 40 percent of the vote. The runoff, which at the earliest would occur June 26, would allow the top two finishers in a party's primary to square off.

A majority of Democratic lawmakers now seems to prefer a proposal that would provide $5 million in state funds to cover the costs to the 120 counties of holding that special election, Hoffman said. Rep. Rick Nelson, a Middlesboro Democrat, has sponsored both bills that address the issue. House Bill 224 would eliminate it and HB 476 would provide state funding for any runoffs. The House Elections Committee approved the two measures last week. Hoffman said he expects both bills will be considered on the House floor "within the next 24 hours."

Nelson said he, too, thinks his proposal to allow the state to shell out the $5 million from its emergency "necessary governmental expenses" fund to pay for the runoff is the more likely bill to pass now. He said the county clerks still would prefer to get rid of the runoff, but their biggest concerns are relieved if the state covers the costs of setting up voting machines and paying poll workers. "I, personally, would be OK with that," Nelson said. "I don't think we need to change course in the middle of the game" by eliminating the runoff.

Other lawmakers have raised concerns that, if the runoff is thrown out, a candidate who finishes second could sue the state. Rep. Bob DeWeese, Republican House caucus chairman, said that, as long as the counties don't have to cover the costs, GOP lawmakers will be happy. He added that it's probably more fair to the three Republican candidates and seven Democratic hopefuls to keep the runoff. "That way nobody can say you messed with the election," he said.

Congratulations Frankfort. Instead of mid-contest alterations, politicians have chosen to respect their rules. Their compensation decision is excellent. In lieu of funding as a convenient excuse, they addressed the problem. For the aforesaid, they should be applauded.

You’ll Hear This Again… Fletcher Can’t Win!

From Blue Grass, Red State:

Since the Beverage perjury trial has been set for June, after the May 22nd R primary, I went looking to see if maybe Commonwealth Attorney Larry Cleveland is doing his part to help Fletcher through the primary so the Democrats can roast him and all the other Republican candidates all summer and all fall. Cleveland says the date was picked because that's when his calendar and the court can handle it. Maybe. I don't want to question the attorney's honesty.

However, Cleveland is clearly sympathetic to Democrat interests. Cleveland has donated money to several candidates for judgeships and legislative positions, including George Moore (nominated by Stumbo for appointment to Kentucky Personnel Board) and Senator Julian Carroll, who had a temper tantrum last week over Pence's endorsement of Northup/Hoover. Moreover, he gave $1000 to the Kentucky Democrat Party back in 99. I hope Cleveland gets a Christmas card from Fletcher this year.

I'm just saying, if Fletcher wins the R primary and then voters get to hear about perjury and the 5th Amendment and whatnot right after the primary, things won't be pretty for Kentucky Republicans. Fletch is lucking out in the short term, but dragging all Kentucky Republicans down in the long term. Julian Carroll's request for Pence to resign is absurd. Ernie Fletcher is the one who should resign. He should have resigned a long time ago, but I guess he never realized how inept he has been. He has departed from his values. He has departed from his party. He has departed from the voters. Republicans can not afford to have Fletcher's name on the ticket in November.

This validates my assertions. Fletcher cannot win.

Kentucky Republicans, fervently supporting a championship is admirable. Fervently supporting a corpse is insane. Do not vote Fletcher.

Biting Legislation

Mine safety bill moving in House

A mine safety bill given up for dead last month by its sponsor has been resuscitated and will likely clear the House Tuesday, according to two coal-field lawmakers who have battled over the legislation.

Hallelujah! This legislation is critical. I am elated the bill is alive. Incidentally, where was Governor Fletcher as this bill floundered?

Senate plan calls for bond issue for retirement overhaul

Legislative leaders are considering issuing more than $500 million in bonds and changing benefits for future hires in hopes of solving the financial woes of the state retirement systems. Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, today said the plan enjoys bipartisan support in the Senate, and that he is hopeful the House will sign on in the final days of this year’s legislative session.

Governor Fletcher should also champion this reform. He is where?

Hospital tax limit passes Senate

The Kentucky General Assembly today put a permanent cap on a tax that hospitals pay on their revenue. Starting in mid-2008, the tax will be based on the revenue that hospitals received in the 2005-06 fiscal year. That freezes collections from the tax at their current level and protects hospitals from yearly fluctuations.

Limiting taxes… A grand accomplishment.

Bill requiring fire-safe cigarettes passes House committee

A proposed mandate on cigarette manufacturers to only sell self-extinguishing cigarettes in Kentucky cleared a House committee on Monday. Proponents say the measure would cut down on fires and fire-related deaths because the cigarettes automatically extinguish themselves when left unattended. The measure heads to the full House for consideration. A similar plan is pending in the Senate.

One less excuse when your house burns down.
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