The AP reports on the race.
Democrat Mike Weaver is contemplating a run for the 2nd District seat held by U.S. Rep. Ron Lewis, who rose from obscurity amid an anti-Clinton backlash and has since become a formidable vote-getter in the mostly rural district. Weaver, a state representative from Elizabethtown, will announce his plans next week but is expected to enter the 2006 race.Colonel Weaver believes that no one should be left behind.
Lewis said he was prepared for a possible challenge.
"I have to reapply for this job every two years," Lewis said in an interview.
Weaver, who served two tours of combat duty in Vietnam, stopped short of declaring his candidacy Friday but previewed a possible campaign theme based on his military career - which Democrats hope would resonate in a conservative district that's home to Fort Knox Army post.
Weaver started as an Army private and rose to colonel before retiring in 1992. Weaver, 67, also served 3 1/2 years in the Navy before attending college and joining the Army.
With crucial decisions looming on strategy to stabilize Iraq and defeat a deadly insurgency, Weaver said his combat experience in Vietnam would be an asset.
"I think we need a voice in Congress that knows what it's like to carry a 19-year-old soldier off the battlefield," Weaver said in a phone interview.
Lewis' time in the military was cut short by health problems. He began training at the Navy's Officer Candidate School in hopes of becoming a flight navigator, but a kidney ailment resulted in his honorable medical discharge in 1972.
"It wasn't like I tried to run away to Canada or tried to avoid military service," he said. "In fact, I had to go the extra mile" to get into officer school because of health problems.
Lewis said he would support sending more American troops to Iraq to finish the job.
"We've got to win that war, or we lose the whole Middle East," Lewis said.
Weaver said he would support boosting U.S. troop strength if needed to stabilize Iraq and hasten the training of Iraqis to take over the country's defense.
"I would not support us involved in a ground war indefinitely," he said.
Weaver said he sees one parallel between the wars in Vietnam and Iraq.
"In Vietnam, we did not plan to make an orderly exit," he said. "I feel that we are not planning to make an orderly exit now."
Weaver, who grew up in Daviess County along the fringes of the district, said he hoped to raise at least $2 million in campaign funds if he gets into the race.
Lewis has won at least 65 percent of the vote in his last three election victories in the district stretching from near Tennessee to counties neighboring Louisville. President Bush easily carried the district in 2000 and 2004.[...]
State Democratic Party Chairman Jerry Lundergan said the dynamics have changed. He said voter unease with the Iraq war and disgruntlement over high fuel prices make Lewis vulnerable.
He also mentioned Weaver's conservative credentials as a state lawmaker. Weaver was a founder of the Commonwealth Democrats, a group of conservative House Democrats.
Lundergan said Weaver would be "the kind of candidate and the type of person that the district wants to see in their congressman."
EDIT: Campaign site is online