Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Grayson gets help from the president



By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

PARK HILLS - Northern Kentucky Republican Trey Grayson admits that to win his race for secretary of state, he needs coattails from the top of the GOP.

In the Republican Party you can't go any higher than President Bush, and Grayson is thrilled to be scheduled to share the stage this weekend with the president in Paducah.

"The president's visit will be a huge boost to my campaign and to the Republican ticket," said Grayson, 31, a lawyer running for the first time on the statewide ballot.

Bush plans a two-city Kentucky campaign swing Saturday, with stops scheduled in Paducah, a key area in the battleground region of western Kentucky, and London, a GOP stronghold on the Tennessee border.

The visit is designed to drum up support for the Republican's statewide ticket on the Nov. 4 ballot, a slate that includes Grayson and fellow Northern Kentucky resident Adam Koenig of Villa Hills, who is running for treasurer against Democratic incumbent Jonathan Miller.

Gubernatorial candidate Ernie Fletcher, who is challenged by Democrat Ben Chandler, heads the Republican ticket.

Grayson said Bush's visit would help Fletcher, which in turn will boost the down-ticket candidates on the GOP slate.

"Anybody running for a down-ticket office needs coattails," Grayson said Tuesday from Paducah, where he was campaigning. "None of us have enough money to run a full-blown statewide campaign. So it's an incredible opportunity to talk to the president and address the crowd during his visit."

Grayson has bought television time in Cincinnati, Louisville, Lexington and some Western Kentucky markets.

A 15-second ad began running this week on Cincinnati stations, which charge the most for advertising among Kentucky television markets.

According to the Associated Press, Grayson has raised $133,000 and spent $176,000. His opponent, Louisville Democrat Russ Maple, has raised $185,000 and spent $179,000.

Grayson said he plans to spend much of the last week of the campaign shadowing Fletcher, who is leading Chandler in statewide polls.

Maple, a former Jefferson County commissioner who has been campaigning and raising money since 2000, said he is confident.

"I've been at this for three years," Maple said, "and I think all that work is going to pay off. I've been in losing campaigns and I've been in winning campaigns, and this feels like a winner."

The Louisville Courier-Journal contributed.

E-mail pcrowley@enquirer.com




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