Wednesday, November 5, 2003

Stumbo survives caustic campaign to become AG

By Bruce Schreiner
The Associated Press

LOUISVILLE - Legislative powerbroker Greg Stumbo was elected Kentucky attorney general Tuesday, winning a three-man race that focused as much on personal issues as on policy.

Stumbo, the longtime House majority leader from Prestonsburg, survived a Republican surge that swept Democrats out of other statewide constitutional offices. A Democrat from the state's Appalachian region, Stumbo defeated Republican Jack Wood of Louisville and independent Gatewood Galbraith of Lexington.

Greg Stumbo
Age: 51

Party: Democrat

Residence: Prestonsburg

Occupation: State representative

Education: Bachelor's degree from University of Kentucky and law degree from University of Louisville

Experience: House majority floor leader since 1985; member of state House since 1980

With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, Stumbo had 490,211 votes, or 48 percent. Wood had 427,875 votes, or 42 percent, and Galbraith had 109,041 votes, or 10 percent.

Stumbo succeeds two-term Attorney General Ben Chandler, a fellow Democrat who lost Tuesday's election for governor.

With his election, Stumbo becomes the state's top Democratic officeholder. He said his new status "hasn't really sunk in," and that his focus would be on his transition into office.

Much of the campaign for the state's top law enforcement job revolved around personal issues - Stumbo's paternity and child-support issues, Wood's checkered past as a judge and Galbraith's advocacy of marijuana for medicinal uses.

"We talked about vision instead of vicious personal attacks," Stumbo said. "We talked about leadership instead of lies, and we talked about moving Kentucky forward."

Stumbo used his legislative clout to wield a commanding fund-raising advantage and at last count had raised close to $400,000.

Galbraith said he made a "quite credible showing," considering he spent less than $20,000 and made limited campaign appearances. Wood spent about $6,000 of his own money on the general election.

Stumbo promised to fight illegal drugs and protect consumers if elected. He also stressed his experience as a legislator. In declaring victory, Stumbo said he "won't rest until we have taken our state back" from drug pushers.

He proposed creating a Kentucky Bureau of Investigation to focus on drug crimes. He pledged the attorney general's office would pitch in to prosecute drug cases, if invited by local prosecutors and law enforcement.

Stumbo is being sued by a woman with whom he fathered a child during an affair. The lawsuit seeks $43,000 in back child support.

Stumbo insisted the lawsuit should not be an issue, though the attorney general is chairman of a state commission that oversees collection of child support.

Wood, of Louisville, was disciplined while a district court judge in southern Kentucky for allegedly deceptive election advertising in the early 1980s.

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