Wednesday, June 28, 2000

Nader could be on Ky. ballot

Supporters say they have enough signatures, also aim at House seat

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — The Green Party has collected enough signatures to put its presidential candidate, Ralph Nader, on the ballot in Kentucky this fall.

        And this week Green Party supporters will circulate a petition to get a candidate for the 4th District U.S. House seat, held by Rep. Ken Lucas.

        Chaz Martin, co-chairman of the Green Party of Kentucky, said the party has collected the 5,000 signatures of registered voters needed to put Mr. Nader — a leading consumer advocate — on the ballot in November. The party's goal is to collect another 3,000 signatures to withstand any challenges to the validity of signatures, Mr. Martin said during the party's national nominating convention over the weekend in Denver.

        The signatures must be turned in to the Kentucky Secretary of State's Office in Frankfort by Aug. 30.

        Ken Sain, 39, of Covington, a former deputy sports editor for The Cincinnati Enquirer now working for a local Internet firm, will formally announce his candidacy in Newport today for Northern Kentucky's 4th District U.S. House seat.

        Mr. Sain said he will begin circulating petitions this week to get the 400 signatures of registered voters he needs to be on the ballot.

        Others running in the congressional race are first-term Democratic incumbent Ken Lucas, of Richwood, and Republican Don Bell, of Oldham County, which is just east of Louisville.

        “Democracy demands a real choice,” Mr. Sain said Tuesday. “Having an ultra-right-wing conservative running against an ultra-right-wing conservative is no choice.

        “There are so many people in this district who are tired of a lack of alternatives on the ballot.”

        Mr. Sain has never held elected office. He has belonged to the Green Party since 1992.

        The party grew out of the environmental movement of the 1960s and '70s. Mr. Sain said the party “offers a political alternative, promoting open and democratic government, encouraging environmentally safe and sustainable practices and advocating for social and economic justice.”

        By any measure, however, Mr. Sain faces a daunting if not impossible task in winning the election.

        He is not known in Kentucky political circles, has raised little money and is running against an incumbent who will likely spend $1 million in the race and a Republican who has twice run for statewide office and who is now on the ballot in the GOP stronghold of Northern Kentucky.

        “This campaign is going to be a lot of hard work,” Mr. Sain said. “I am building a grass-roots coalition of progressive citizens who want to conquer big money with big ideas. I expect many liberals, tired of being ignored by their representative, are going to vote for me.”

        But the 4th District is known for its conservative politics. A reflection of that can be found in Mr. Lucas' voting record; he often sides with the Republicans in Congress.

        “I hope to earn the support of many moderates who are closer to my positions than they are my opponents,” Mr. Sain said. “And, conservatives who are concerned about lobbyists taking over control of their government and the billions of dollars wasted on corporate welfare annually are going to consider me for a protest vote.”

        Mr. Sain said he plans to debate and raise the issues “ignored” by the other candidates, including universal health care and publicly financed elections.


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