By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer
NEWPORT - Wilder City Councilman Dennis Keene pulled off the upset of Tuesday's Northern Kentucky voting, beating veteran office-holder Ken Rechtin in Campbell County's 67th District statehouse Democratic primary.
|Dennis Keene|| 1,052|
|Ken Rechtin|| 957|
|Carol Rich|| 132|
Keene, unknown politically until this year's primary, said hard work made the difference in the race.
"We had 29 people on our campaign who never stopped working," Keene said before heading to a victory party at the Wilder City Building.
Keene's campaign impressed Democrats. Many said he outworked other candidates as he placed more than 600 of his distinctive green-and-white signs through the communities of the 67th District - Newport, Dayton, Bellevue, Southgate, Wilder and Highland Heights.
Keene's platform included restoring education budget cuts to raise teachers' salaries, renovating aging neighborhoods and using state resources and legislation to attract high-tech jobs to the technology development park planned for Northern Kentucky University.
Rechtin was unable able to ride his strong name to victory. He is a Campbell County commissioner and a former member of the Newport City Commission, where for a decade he helped oversee a revival of the city through projects that included Newport on the Levee, the Newport Aquarium and the Hofbrauhaus restaurant.
Awaiting Keene is Wilder lawyer Mark Hayden. He has never run for office, but Campbell County Republican Party officials are energized by his candidacy and see his campaign as the GOP's chance to win what has long been considered a Democratic statehouse seat.
Hayden congratulated Keene, but said the victory was "insignificant" because voter turnout was so low. He also tried to align Keene with House Speaker Jody Richards, the Bowling Green Democrat who ran for governor last year.
Keene supported Richards, Hayden said.
"Richards has been leading the attacks on (Gov. Ernie Fletcher's) initiatives and blocking attempts to reform Frankfort," Hayden said. "If elected, my opponent would become part of the problem, not the solution."
Incumbent Rep. Jim Callahan, arguably Northern Kentucky's most effective legislator over the past decade, is retiring at the end of this year after 18 years in Frankfort.
Carol Rich finished a distant third in the race with 6 percent of the vote. She is well-known in Bellevue, where she served on the school board.
Cindy Schroeder contributed. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Summer air traffic to soar
Arts center hires veteran director
More police hitting streets
Tall Stacks owed big payment
KY. PRIMARY RESULTS
It'll be Davis vs. Clooney
Bunning, Mongiardo easily win U.S. Senate primaries
Three Covington City Council incumbents move forward
Twelve to vie for six Independence City Council seats
Roeding fights off challenge in 11th Senate District
Nurse wins 1st race for office
Keene wins in 67th District Democratic upset
IN THE TRISTATE
Bingo bill disagreements unlikely to be settled before summer recess
Former mayor a tireless civic gem
Study: 'Jury still out' on reforms
Broadnax denied erasure of record
Housing to join stores
Lakota wants resident input before acting on ballot issue
Two mental health agencies consolidating operations
Panhandler law may end if not renewed today
City may streamline pit bull procedures
Church dismisses gay marriage ruling's appeal
Public safety briefs
Report suggests breaking promise on Fernald waste
Women told to ponder finances
Agency outreach questioned
Growing pains unabated
Little red wagon gets her to class
Crowley: Tough fight anticipated
Christine Davis, 96, pioneer soldier
Jane Gillespie, 68, corporate attorney, sailor
Firetrucks rush to wrong state
Gasoline may have caused sensor failures
25 hit the big one: $12.6M Lotto ticket
Ky. news briefs