Thursday, June 24, 2004

Senate candidates split hairs over funds

Westwood, Groob claim money edge

By Patrick Crowley
Enquirer Staff Writer

Candidates in Northern Kentucky's highest-profile statehouse race continue to debate which camp is raising the most money.

State Sen. Jack Westwood, R-Crescent Springs, raised more money than his Democratic opponent during the latest reporting period, a two-week cycle in early May.

Westwood reported raising $4,150 while Democrat Kathy Groob, a member of Fort Mitchell City Council making her first bid for a statehouse seat, collected just $750.

Westwood also had more cash on hand as of the May 18 primary, $64,580 compared to $38,593 for Groob.

"The people of Northern Kentucky understand that by supporting the campaign, they are supporting strong education initiatives for our children and economic development in the region," Westwood, a retired teacher seeking a third term, said in a statement.

"I'm honored and humbled by the outpouring of support," he said.

Groob's campaign responded by pointing out that since entering the race late last year she has raised more money than Westwood - $56,176 compared to $55,075 - and has collected $15,000 in contributions since the primary.

"Momentum continues to remain with Kathy Groob," said Eric Gentry of Cornerstone Strategies in Edgewood, Groob's fund-raising adviser.

"Since she entered the race she has out-raised Jack," Gentry said. "The picture is clear. The people of Northern Kentucky are supporting Kathy Groob."

Groob's campaign picked up some assistance this week from organized labor.

Jim Cole, president of the Northern Kentucky Central Labor Council, has announced that the group's political director has been assigned to work with the Groob campaign.

Brad Burtner of Villa Hills, former president of the Kenton County Democratic Club, will coordinate raising money from organized labor groups and members and work on the campaign's "get out the vote" effort, Cole said.

"The importance of this campaign to working people and senior citizens of Northern Kentucky cannot be overstated," Cole said.

"We have to have someone in that seat who will represent our region and not just rubber-stamp the agenda given to him and originated with other priorities in mind.

"We deserve better" than Westwood, Cole said.

The 23rd Senate District covers Erlanger, Edgewood, Elsmere, Fort Wright, Crescent Springs, Villa Hills, Bromley, Ludlow, Park Hills, Covington and Fort Mitchell.

Targeted campaigns

The statehouse race is one of four in Northern Kentucky organized labor has targeted for involvement. The others are:

• 4th Congressional District race between Democrat Nick Clooney of Augusta and Republican Geoff Davis of Boone County.

• The U.S. Senate race between Sen. Jim Bunning, a Southgate Republican, and state Sen. Dr. Daniel Mongiardo, a Hazard Democrat.

• The 67th House District race in Campbell County between Republican Mark Hayden and Democrat Dennis Keene. Both are from Wilder.



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