Tuesday, June 06, 2000

GOP picks 2 alternates who gave to Lucas

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FORT MITCHELL — Two of the alternate delegates local Republicans will send to the party's national convention this summer have contributed money to Northern Kentucky Democratic Congressman U.S. Rep. Ken Lucas.

        Builder Ralph Drees, of Crescent Springs, and John Mocker, of Richwood, a vice president at Lally Pipe and Tool in Covington, were chosen by the 4th District GOP Saturday as alternate delegates to the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia this August.

        According to Federal Election Commission records, over the last two years both men have made campaign contributions to Mr. Lucas, the Richwood Democrat elected to Congress in 1998. Mr. Drees has donated $2,000 to Mr. Lucas. Mr. Mocker has given $1,000.

        Both also made substantial contributions to Republican candidates and political organizations.

        But Democrats were happy to acknowledge that the GOP alternate delegates have given money to their congressional candidate, even though Mr. Lucas faces a challenge from Oldham County Republican Don Bell in the fall.

        “I receive support from a lot of people active in the Republican movement,” Mr. Lucas said with a smile Monday. “They must be very satisfied with the job I'm doing.”

        Kenton County Democratic Party Chairwoman Shirley Huelsmann said the contributions validate that Republicans are happy with the representation from Mr. Lucas, who bills himself as a “Common Sense Conservative” and who often votes with Republicans in Congress.

        “Those Republicans, and a lot of other Republicans, have no quarrel with the Democrats over who is representing them in Congress,” Mrs. Huelsmann.

        Mr. Lucas enjoys financial support from many Northern Kentucky Republicans, but he acknowledged the contributions from Mr. Drees and Mr. Mocker came under special circumstances.

        Mr. Lucas, a financial planner, and Mr. Drees have been business associates in the past. Mr. Lucas has even sat on the board of Mr. Drees' home building firm, The Drees Co.

        And Mr. Lucas and Mr. Mocker are neighbors in the Triple Crown Country Club in Richwood.

        Mr. Drees did not return a phone call to comment.

        Mr. Mocker called from Pikes Peak, Colo., where he is on vacation.

        “I'm very loyal to the Republican Party,” Mr. Mocker said from his cell phone Monday as he neared the top of the famous landmark.

        “If my loyalty to the party was not there, I would not have been chosen as an (alternate) delegate. But this is a special circumstance. Ken Lucas is my neighbor, and I think he is a Republican at heart.”

        Mr. Mocker also mentioned that Mr. Lucas had contributed money to Republican U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning in the past, a fact that caused Mr. Lucas some embarrassment during his 1998 U.S. House campaign.

        Mr. Lucas is the only Democrat Mr. Mocker has supported financially.

        Over the last two years, Mr. Mocker has given more than $3,000 to Republican candidates, including Mr. Bunning, of Southgate; presidential candidate George W. Bush; Gex (Jay) Williams of Boone County, who Mr. Lucas defeated in 1998; and Rick Robinson, a Fort Mitchell attorney who ran against Mr. Williams in the 1998 4th District GOP primary.

        Mr. Drees also is an active donor to the GOP and has given no money to Democrats except Mr. Lucas.

        Since 1999, Mr. Drees has given more than $18,000 to the Republican Party of Kentucky; the Republican National Committee; former GOP presidential candidate Elizabeth Dole; Kentucky Sixth District U.S. Rep. Ernie Fletcher, a Lexington Republican; Ohio U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot of Cincinnati; and Mr. Bunning, Mr. Bush and Mr. Robinson.

        Republican leaders chose three official delegates from the area: Campbell County GOP Chairwoman Barb Haas of Florence, Boone County Jailer John Schickel and Boone County Commissioner Cathy Flaig.

        “I'm very excited,” Mrs. Haas said. “Going to a national political convention is something I've always wanted to do.”


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