The Courier Journal has endorsed
the candidacy of Anne Northup for Governor and Jeff Hoover for Lt. Governor. Here are excerpts for the endorsement:GOP should nominate Northup for governor
This is the truth: Gov. Ernie Fletcher is so wounded, politically, that Kentucky Republicans would be hurting their own cause by renominating him in the May 22 primary.
Read the numbers. Polls consistently have shown that Gov. Fletcher carries such heavy baggage from the merit-system scandal that he is unlikely to win a second term.
Republicans should give themselves a chance to win -- and give Kentucky an attractive alternative to whoever emerges from the crowded Democratic primary -- by nominating former U.S. Rep. Anne Northup of Louisville.
Billy Harper, a millionaire Paducah businessman who is largely financing his own campaign, is also in the GOP race and has released a flurry of television ads.
Mrs. Northup brings a strong résumé to the race.
She served 10 years in Congress from Kentucky's 3rd District, before being defeated last fall in the anti-Bush tide. Although her voting record was more conservative than majority views in her district, she won widespread praise as a community leader who worked tirelessly to fund local needs. She was pivotal in pulling together support and money for Louisville's vital Ohio River Bridges Project.
Before that, she was an effective member of the Kentucky legislature, where she demonstrated independence and courage. She backed progress and reform in education -- a passion she carried to Congress. And at a time when most state politicians steered clear of tobacco controversies, she focused on smoking's health risks and the gathering economic storm confronting growers.
If Mrs. Northup becomes governor, conservatives will get a strong opponent of abortion and an ally on a range of social issues. Everyone will get a constructive advocate for progress in areas such as education, health care and urban needs.
Mr. Harper also is an engaging candidate. He, too, has an ambitious and thoughtful agenda, especially in education. He stresses a vision that emphasizes early childhood education, avoiding dropout risks in middle schools and keeping college affordable.
But Mr. Harper has not held public office, and he lacks Mrs. Northup's experience and proven ability. And he cannot win.
Gov. Fletcher, for his part, is not going to exit without a fight, and he rattles off what he considers key accomplishments.
He says that he has streamlined state government. He argues that his tax reform package was a substantial achievement. He points to successes in cutting costs and modernizing the Medicaid program. He says he has done a lot for Louisville, partnering with civic leaders in projects such as a new downtown arena.
Ironically, however, the Governor's gravest shortcoming looms in the area where, as a candidate in 2003, he pledged to make the biggest difference: changing the culture in Frankfort.
Instead, he and his administration descended into an illegal effort to thwart the state's merit system with a scheme for politically based hiring.
Gov. Fletcher denies reality. He claims to have been exonerated and insists that, in any case, he was the victim of a witch-hunt conducted by Attorney General Greg Stumbo.
He won't acknowledge the compelling facts: his pardons for 27 people indicted in the scandal; his own admission, in a deal to end the probe, that there was strong evidence of wrongdoing and that he bore responsibility as head of the executive branch; his acknowledgement in the agreement that the investigation was proper; the reality that this hiring operation was conducted out of the Governor's office; the embarrassment of his own lieutenant governor, Steve Pence, saying some of Gov. Fletcher's actions amounted to a cover-up.
Some Republicans are sympathetic to Gov. Fletcher's defense. But they should ask themselves two questions:
First, can Gov. Fletcher really persuade voters in the November general election to give him four more years? Mrs. Northup and Mr. Harper have avoided harsh attacks in a GOP primary. Does anyone suppose the Democratic ticket will exercise such restraint?
Second, what is best for Kentucky -- weakened leadership from a crippled and tarnished governor?
By nominating Anne Northup, Kentucky Republicans would strengthen their party's hand in the fall campaign and upgrade the quality of leadership they offer the state.
We urge her selection. Are you surprised by the endorsement? Share your thoughts with us.Update:
Louisville Teachers union endorse
Labels: Endorsement, Kentucky politics, Public Service, Republicanism