Tuesday, May 23, 2000

Kennedy stumps here for Baesler


Dem. lured to old seat

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FORT MITCHELL — There is a primary today in Northern Kentucky's Fourth Congressional District, but a member of one of the country's leading political families was here to raise money for a U.S. House race in Lexington.

        U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., the son of U.S. Sen. Edward “Ted” Kennedy, was the featured guest Monday at a small luncheon fund-raiser for Lexington Democrat Scotty Baesler.

        Mr. Baesler is best known to Northern Kentucky voters as the former Sixth District congressman who lost the 1998 U.S. Senate race to Southgate Republican Jim Bunning.

        Mr. Baesler is now locked in a tough race to win his old House seat back from incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Ernie Fletcher of Lexington.

        Mr. Kennedy heads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, a partisan group that works to elect Democrats to Congress. The nephew of former president John Kennedy spent Sunday and Monday helping Mr. Baesler raise about $35,000 in cities around Kentucky.

        About 30 contributors gave Mr. Baesler $7,000 during Monday's local fund-raiser, held at the Fort Mitchell home of Nathan and Mary Lee Smith. Mr. Smith is a Democratic Party strategist and the chief operating officer of SSK Company in Elsmere.

        Mr. Baesler said he will need as much as $1.5 mil lion to win the race this fall.

        “It's going to be a long, tough, mean and expensive race,” Mr. Baesler said. “It's one of the top three or four House races in the country, so it's going to get a lot of attention.”

        Mr. Kennedy called Mr. Baesler's race “an absolutely must win.”

        “We only have six (seats) to pick up to win back control,” Mr. Kennedy said. “When Scotty announced he was running again, we knew we had the strongest candidate we could ever field this year.”

        Mr. Baesler represented the Sixth District - which covers 19 central Kentucky counties — for three terms before stepping down to run against Mr. Bunning.

        Democratic U.S. Rep. Ken Lucas of Boone County, who represents the Fourth Congressional District, is unopposed in today's primary. He will face the winner of the GOP primary among Don Bell, Roger Thoney and Scott Tooley.

        “We feel Ken's current prospects for re-election are excellent,” Mr. Kennedy said, adding the Democrats will have a more difficult task winning the Sixth District than retaining the Fourth District seat held by Mr. Lucas.

        Fort Mitchell lawyer Lanny Holbrook, a long-time Democratic Party contributor, said he donated money to Mr. Baesler as part of the Democrats' effort to retake control of the House.

        “I do believe the Democratic Party has a good chance of retaking control of the House, and winning back Scotty's seat will help. He has a good chance of winning,” Mr. Holbrook said.

       



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