Wednesday, November 3, 2004

State Senate: Republican Thayer wins a full term in new seat

By Patrick Crowley
Enquirer staff writer

Kentucky Sen. Damon Thayer, a former Northern Kentucky resident and local GOP leader, won re-election Tuesday night to a full four-year term in the state Senate.

Thayer, a horse racing industry executive, defeated retired Williamstown school Superintendent Cliff Wallace, a Grant County Democrat, winning 55 percent of the vote.

The district covers Scott, Owen and Grant counties and Kenton County south of Interstate 275, including Taylor Mill and Independence.

The Kentucky General Assembly created the seat two years ago based on the 2000 U.S. Census. Thayer was elected in a special election in the winter of 2003.

Thayer was among the top fund-raisers of any statehouse candidate on the ballot this year. Thayer, the former 4th District GOP chairman and Republican Party of Kentucky vice chairman, raised more than $200,000. Wallace raised just more than $52,000.

Thayer has heralded his work on the state budget, which includes more than $100 million for area projects including a major expansion for Northern Kentucky University. But Wallace said change was needed because Republicans have been unable to pass a budget.

The two also battled over taxes.

Thayer accused Wallace of flip-flopping over increasing the state's gas tax. Wallace said he was not advocating an increase, but said it should be considered once oil prices drop.

Thayer said he would never consider increasing the gas tax.

Both candidates said the state should consider reimporting prescription drugs from Canada for state employee health care plans. State Auditor Crit Luallen has said the state could save $107 million a year on reimportation. She and others have urged Gov. Ernie Fletcher to seek a federal waiver to reimport drugs from Canada.


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