Wednesday, November 08, 2006

2007: Stumbo will not run if Chandler does

Attorney General Greg Stumbo said Wednesday he expects to make a decision on whether to enter the governor's race by Dec. 1.

"I'm going to spend the next month looking at the race, and talking to people around the state," Stumbo said. "I've retained a pollster and we'll be doing some polling in the near future."

Former Lt. Gov. Steve Henry said Wednesday he isn't yet ready to comment on a possible gubernatorial bid. He said he wants to dissect the results of Tuesday's election.

"This week, we have no intention of getting out there and muddying up the waters," Henry said.[...]

Most potential Democratic candidates have said they will wait to see whether U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Lexington, decides to run for governor before deciding whether to enter the race. Chandler is a Democratic favorite for the job, but he has said he probably would stay in the House if Democrats were to retake majority control, which they did in Tuesday's voting.

Chandler, who didn't immediately return a phone call to his Washington office, is one of a number of potential Democratic gubernatorial candidates that includes former Gov. Brereton Jones, Attorney General Greg Stumbo, State Auditor Crit Luallen and Speaker of the House Jody Richards.

"If Ben Chandler decides to run, I'll be the first one to stand up and say 'I'm for him,'" Stumbo said. "But I don't think he will run."

On the Republican side, Gov. Ernie Fletcher has been raising money for months for his re-election bid. So far, only one other Republican, Paducah businessman Billy Harper, has announced an intention to run against Fletcher. Harper had served as Fletcher's fundraising chief in the last election. Neither of them officially filed Wednesday.

Some pundits contend that Fletcher may be vulnerable in his re-election bid because of a hiring scandal that plagued him for most of the past year. He was indicted in May on charges that he rewarded political supporters with state jobs, although the indictment was later dismissed in an agreement with prosecutors.
Fletcher is vulnerable. There is no doubt about that.

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