Monday, September 22, 2003

Bush to help Fletcher

The Associated Press

LEXINGTON - President Bush is planning to visit Lexington in October to boost congressman Ernie Fletcher's campaign for governor.

The Oct. 9 visit, just a month before the general election, will be a fundraiser for Fletcher, the 6th District representative. He faces state Attorney General Ben Chandler, the Democratic nominee.

Bush is scheduled to appear at 6 p.m. in Heritage Hall at Lexington Center, at an event called "A Tribute to New Kentucky Leadership."

The event will benefit not only Fletcher but also the state Republican Party, which can take up to $12,500 from a single contributor. The limit on contributions to a candidate is $1,000.

The invitation says those who raise $10,000 for the event get a "photo opportunity" with Bush and Fletcher.

Fletcher's campaign declined to comment because the White House has not announced Bush's travel plans. Those who give $1,000 get preferred seating and a program listing, and $500 donors get a listing.

Chandler has pulled Bush into the Kentucky governor's race, blaming the president and Fletcher for job losses in Kentucky by noting that Fletcher has supported the administration's economic policies.

Fletcher has blamed state-government policies and says he would ease regulations on business.

Fletcher already has a financial advantage over Chandler. As of Sept. 9, the end of the last reporting period, Fletcher had more than $2.4 million in the bank while Chandler had about $1.2 million.

Fletcher has also been aided by television commercials bought by the Republican Governors Association, which accepts unlimited contributions and checks from corporations. Corporations are legally barred from giving to state elections in Kentucky.

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