Tuesday, January 29, 2002

Candidates for fall must file today

Democrats announce they'll seek court seats

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The county clerk's offices in Northern Kentucky's three courthouses should be busy today, the deadline for candidates in most political races to file for the November election.

        In a late-afternoon development Monday, Kenton County Democrats made a surprise announcement that the party will field candidates for the four county Fiscal Court seats held by Republicans.

        Commissioner Dan Humpert of Covington will be challenged by Democrat Sue Sampson of Covington, a former Procter & Gamble employee and marketing communications consultant.

        Democrat Mike Baker of Fort Wright, the business manager at Ziegler & Schneider, a Northern Kentucky law firm, will run for the seat held by Republican Commissioner Adam Koenig. Mr. Koenig already faces a May primary challenge from Michael Plummer, a lawyer and member of Fort Mitchell City Council.

        Republicans were not expecting the Democrats to go after those two seats. During a Monday afternoon fund-raiser in Covington for Geoff Davis, the Boone County Republican running against Democratic incumbent Rep. Ken Lucas in the 4th Congressional District, party leaders and elected officials said they were not anticipating Democratic challenges.

        “I guess we surprised them, but these are very good candidates who can win these races,” said Kenton County Democratic Chairman Nathan Smith.

        Democrats had previously filed for the seats held by the two other Republican incumbents.

        Dick Murgatroyd, the Kenton County judge-executive from Villa Hills, faces a challenge from Fort Wright lawyer Patrick Hughes. And Commissioner Barb Black will run against Taylor Mill Democrat Stephen Wright.

        Mr. Murgatroyd, in his first term leading Kentucky's third-largest county, filed his re-election papers last week.

        “I am proud of my record as county judge, and our campaign will focus on our record of accomplishments with a keen eye focused on planning for the future,” Mr. Murgatroyd said.

        Mr. Murgatroyd said those accomplishments include:

        • Resurfacing 39 miles of county roads.

        • Developing a master plan for transportation and recreation.

        • Expanding water lines and service to 375 homes.

        • Securing $1.6 million in federal funding, which was used to employ resource officers at county schools and install mobile computers in police and fire vehicles.

        Mr. Murgatroyd also announced his campaign team.

        It will be led by Kenton County GOP Chairman Greg Shumate and Gary Bockelman, a member of the Beechwood Board of Education and longtime Republican Party strategist and fund-raiser.

        Other members of the campaign team are Bert Huff, president of Huff Realty; Jane Summe, wife of former Kenton County Commissioner Charles Summe; Crestview Hills Councilman Frank Sommerkamp; and lawyer Lawson Walker.

        Mr. Murgatroyd's statement did not mention two issues Democrats plan to use against Republicans — the lack of a site on which to build a new county jail and the raising of three taxes, including the county's payroll tax cap.

        But in filing his campaign papers last week, Mr. Hughes did not mention those issues either. He has, however, talked about the jail and tax increases in public appearances and in interviews.

        In other filing news Monday:

        • Roger Thoney, a Highland Heights Republican, will run in the 4th Congressional District GOP primary against Mr. Davis. The winner will take on Mr. Lucasin November.

        • In Dayton, former Mayor Bobby Crittendon, impeached in late 2000 by the City Council, has filed to run for his old seat. Also in the city's mayoral race are incumbent Ron Gunning and Councilman Ken Rankle.

        Mr. Crittendon was accused of ordering police to void parking tickets, interfering in a criminal investigation and personal use of city equipment. He denied the charges.

        • Cold Spring Councilman Mark Stoeber, a Republican, will run against Campbell County Commissioner Bill Verst, a Wilder Democrat.

        • Also in Campbell County, Woodlawn Republican Terry Rasche, who ran for county commissioner in 1998, filed to run for the seat held by Democrat Roland Vories of Fort Thomas. Mr. Vories faces a primary challenge from Newport City Commissioner Ken Rechtin.

        • Only one state lawmaker in the 13-member Northern Kentucky Legislative Caucus had an opponent as of Monday afternoon. Rep. Paul Marcotte, R-Union, is challenged by Union Democrat Michael Moore.

        • In Lexington, former University of Kentucky basketball player Derrick Hord, who now works in marketing, filed as a Democrat to run against 12th District Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr, R-Lexington. She is the sister-in-law of Rep. Tom Kerr, D-Taylor Mill.


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