Friday, August 27, 2004

GOP candidates get exposure

By Brett Barrouquere
The Associated Press

LOUISVILLE - Republican candidates in two of Kentucky's congressional races will get some national exposure at the Republican National Convention that begins Monday in New York.

Geoff Davis of Erlanger, who is running for the 4th Congressional District seat, and incumbent U.S. Rep. Anne Northup of Louisville, who represents the state's 3rd Congressional District, are scheduled to speak.

Neither is getting a prime-time slot on stage, but both will enjoy other amenities, including access to fund-raisers.

Conventions have long been a place for candidates to tap into fund-raising networks and woo major donors, said Michael Baranowski, a political science professor at Northern Kentucky University.

Davis and Northup are in two of the most hotly contested congressional races in the state.

Davis faces Democrat Nick Clooney, a former television anchor and the father of actor George Clooney.

Northup, who represents a portion of Jefferson County, faces a challenge by Democrat Tony Miller, the county's longtime circuit court clerk.

Baranowski said the two were likely chosen to speak to help their chances in the fall elections.

"It wasn't a coincidence that they were picked," Baranowski said. "It raises your profile."

Clooney campaign manager B.J. Neidhardt said Davis's moment in the spotlight won't hurt the Democrat.

"We feel real good about him being there, rather than here," Neidhardt said. "We think it gives us an advantage."

Northup, first elected to Congress in 1996 and a longtime backer of President Bush, will speak Tuesday night, just before first lady Laura Bush, Education Secretary Rod Paige and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Northup campaign manager Patrick Neely said Northup's speech would boost her campaign by "reminding voters that Anne is an accomplished member of Congress."

Miller campaign spokesman Terry McMahon said Northup's speaking role is a sign of how "closely tied" she is to George W. Bush.

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