Sunday, January 07, 2007

Northup for Governor?

Anne Northup is reportedly mulling over a bid to unseat Kentucky governor Ernie Fletcher in the next gubernatorial election. Northup, a Louisville republican, was recently unseated as the representative of the Democratic leaning 3rd district of Kentucky in the US House of Representatives. Northup had occupied the seat for a decade, first winning election in November 1996. However, her political career has spanned 3 separate decades, as she started her political involvement in 1980 as a volunteer for Ronald Reagan's campaign and was a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives from 1987 to 1997.

Before Anne can even be put on the general ballot come November, she must outmaneuver the politically vulnerable Ernie Fletcher (and others) in the Republican primary. Fletcher has been at the center of several scandals since taking the oath of office. Fletcher made a promise to clean up Frankfort after the disastrous tenure of Democratic governor Paul Patton, however, Frankfort seems as dirty as ever. Fletcher is accused of undermining the merit job system in which state jobs are awarded based on "merit" not political affiliation.

It is my personal opinion that Ernie Fletcher is not a bad man or even a stupid man; he simply surrounded himself with bad people. Many of the allegations around Governor Fletcher include several of his "right hand men" and much of their unbecoming behavior. Fletcher, however, magnified the scrutiny of his office when he gave a blanket pardon of all offenders in his administration. Currently, the head of Kentucky Republican politics, Mitch McConnell, won't even endorse the governor for a second term; things are that bad for Ernie.

In swoops Anne Northup, fresh off a major defeat, but as strong willed as ever. This is a woman who is tough as nails, but also a very classy individual. Anne had a tough 2006, to say the very least, as she lost a son in the summer to a heart defect and lost an election in November. I would have thought she would have gone into private life, if even only for a short while, to reflect on the year that was 2006. I was however surprised to see her face plastered across national television debate programs this week and now she is considering the governorship: I say do it. I didn't vote in Kentucky's 3rd District in November, (I was registered in Indiana's 9th, go Baron Hill!) however if I had been there, I would have pulled the lever for Democrat John Yamuth. Even with that disclosure, I had respect for Anne Northup and her many contributions to Louisville. She is bright, hard nosed, and hard hitting for Louisville. But in this election, things were really stacked against her, especially since she had too strongly allied herself with neoconservative national politics.

I have to say I am biased toward Anne Northup becoming governor because what she could do for Louisville, but also because I feel she is woman who could possibly give Frankfort an atmosphere of respect and accountability. Scandal after scandal have fallen on the laps of the people of Kentucky, and it really is time for the people to get someone who will uphold the basic ideals of the Commonwealth.

The Democratic party in Kentucky is in shambles. The only two viable options are Louisville mayor Jerry Abramson, and Lexington's US Representative, Ben Chandler. Both men have made it known they will not be seeking the governorship. Dan Mongiardo , the Democratic doctor from Eastern Kentucky who was narrowly defeated for US Senate in 2004, has thrown his hat in the gubernatioral ring. However, how long will it be before his impending marriage to a 21 year old college student when he is pushing 50, becomes politcal? Lets be honest...while age may not matter to him and his fiance, it looks questionable to the majority of Kentuckians (me included). The last thing Kentuckians want to do is vote for a man who is seen as a letcher, even if he has good politcal ideas.

So to close, I hope to see Anne Northup take a swing at the governorship. And even if she doesn't bite this time around, I think you'll be seeing her name again someday in the future.

Best of luck, Anne.

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