Sunday, May 28, 2000

Covington mayor's race topped surprises in this year's primary


'Front-runner' ended up losing

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        Before we forget a forgettable primary, our usual menu of picks, pans and awards:

Biggest surprise

That was the Covington mayor's race, particularly Bernie Moorman's stunning rise to first and Jim Eggemeier's spectacular plummet to third place, putting him out of the November election.

        Mr. Moorman proved that he still has plenty of support in the city and knows how to run an effective campaign.

        Mr. Eggemeier, meanwhile, might have made the mistake of listening to too many people telling him he was the front-runner and perhaps did not campaign as aggressively as others.

Bringing home the vote

With 20 of Covington's 27 precincts reporting election night, veteran Covington City Commissioner Butch Callery was in third place in the mayoral primary.

        With only the top two finishers moving on to November, Mr. Callery's prospects looked dim. As a crowd in the Kenton County clerk's office hovered around a computer displaying results, a longtime observer of Covington politics turned to a couple of reporters and just shook his head.

        “Latonia's not in,” he said.

        “Wait for Latonia. Butch is strong there and it will make the difference.”

        Not two minutes later Latonia reported and Mr. Callery jumped into second place and into the November election.

Snowball's chance

Union lawyer Ed Kagin, tired of the influence of religion and the anti-abortion lobby in Kentucky politics, ran his state Senate 11th District Democratic primary campaign on a platform that included bashing Northern Kentucky Right to Life and on his disbelief in God or anything else spiritual.

        With a platform like that, Mr. Kagin had a snowball's chance in hell of being elected. But of course, he doesn't believe in hell.

Worst signs

That award belongs to Scott Tooley, who finished second to Don Bell in the 4th Congressional District Republican primary.

        It's not that Mr. Tooley's signs are bad. It's just that he put them in the public right of way — on telephone poles, along state routes and on street corners — which is a no-no under state campaign election laws.

Best manifesto

OK, so Roger Thoney, who came in third in the 4th Congressional District GOP primary, had the only manifesto. Called “The Freedom Plan,” it was his plan for the American economy.

        Mr. Thoney, an economist and engineer, put an amazing amount of time and research into the plan.

        But he repeated the phrase “The Freedom Plan” so many times during a televised campaign debate that he sounded like Ron Popeil — he of Pocket Fisherman fame — hosting an infomercial.

        Mr. Thoney was one of the people who lost Tuesday but should stay involved in politics and ponder another run in the future.

        That list should also include Ken Johnson, who lost the Campbell County circuit clerk Democratic primary to the incumbent; Covington mayoral candidate Ray Murphy, who finished fourth in the field of four; the aforementioned Mr. Tooley and Mr. Eggemeier; and Shawn Staggs, who lost the Boone County Republican primary for property value administrator.

Worst participation

This goes to the nearly 90 percent of Northern Kentucky voters who stayed home election day.Hang your heads in shame this Memorial Day weekend as we honor the men and women who gave their lives so you could stay home and ignore the process that makes America what it is.

        Patrick Crowley covers Kentucky politics for The Kentucky Enquirer. He can be reached at 578-5581, or by e-mail at crowleys@cinci.infi.net.

       



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