By Patrick Crowley
Enquirer staff writer
FORT MITCHELL - U.S. Rep. Ken Lucas is retiring from Congress this year, but he's not going quietly.
Lucas, a Boone County Democrat wrapping up his third term, is taking to the hustings to campaign for Nick Clooney.
Clooney, an Augusta Democrat, is running against Boone County Republican Geoff Davis for Lucas' 4th District seat in Congress.
"I will do anything I can that (Clooney) asks me to do," Lucas said last week. "I have a certain following in the district, and I think there will be some people who have an open mind that I can help influence.
"I think there are going to be huge attacks for being a liberal, which he is not, and I'm going try to do whatever I can to dispel that rumor," he said.
Lucas is using part of Congress' two-week late summer recess to make campaign appearances with Clooney. Events in Grant County, where Lucas was raised, and Oldham County are on the agenda.
Earlier this month Lucas made a surprise appearance at a town hall meeting Clooney held at the Bellevue Veterans' Club in Campbell County. Equally surprising was the pointed speech the usually mild-mannered Lucas delivered to the heavy partisan crowd.
Clooney, Lucas told the crowd, "is in for a tough fight" and will be blistered by "those ugly, 30-second commercials."
"They will demagogue him, they will try to make him something he isn't," Lucas said.
Republicans, who held the 4th District seat for more than 30 years before Lucas' 1998 victory, "think this is their (congressional) seat," Lucas said.
"And they want it back," he said. "They are not going to have any scruples, they will say and do anything. You will think (Clooney) is Al Capone before they get done with him."
Davis said Lucas is being hypocritical by predicting negative attacks by the GOP while delivering a harsh diatribe on the GOP.
"Apparently it is the policy of the Clooney campaign to launch blistering attacks on me while claiming to take the high road," Davis said. "What happened to being a loud voice for civility?"
But Lucas said Davis has gone on the attack in regard to Clooney's son, George, an actor and director who lives in California.
In a recent fund-raising letter, Davis said he needs campaign contributions "to counter the falsehoods and distortions that Hollywood is buying" Clooney.
Accompanied with the letter is a two-page list of Hollywood actors, directors and executives who have contributed to Clooney's campaign.
"Please help me fight the deep pockets of the liberal Hollywood crowd," Davis said.
Lucas bristles as how Davis is trying to use Clooney's son against him.
"They are going to attach him to George," Lucas said. "George is a liberal. And I know Nick loves his son, but Nick Clooney is Kentucky, and George Clooney is a Hollywood actor. I'm sure they have great respect for each other, but Nick is going to be his own person."
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