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3rd Congressional District (Jefferson County): Anne Northup (R) vs. John Yarmuth (D)

FRANKFORT — In their second contentious face-off to represent Kentucky's most populous county in Congress, Democrat John Yarmuth is again linking Republican challenger Anne Northup to an unpopular President Bush.

Meanwhile, Northup is portraying Yarmuth as a "talker" and herself as a "doer and problem-solver."

This year's contest for Kentucky's 3rd Congressional District in Jefferson County is a replay of sorts of the 2006 election.

Both candidates this fall are using tactics they employed in their campaign two years ago, which Yarmuth won.

In 2006, Yarmuth garnered 51 percent of the vote to Northup's 48 percent, ending her 10-year tenure as the first woman in Kentucky elected to Congress since 1926.

Northup is counting on different results at the polls Nov. 4, but national pundits and polling suggest that she faces tough odds.

In the campaign, Northup is attacking Yarmuth's two-year record in Washington. She especially is critical of Yarmuth's recent vote for the $700 billion financial system bailout bill.

But a SurveyUSA telephone poll of probable voters released last week suggests the vote did not harm Yarmuth's chances at re-election. He held a lead of 57 percent to 41 percent in the race, doubling his margin over Northup from early September.

Both candidates in the poll gathered at least 85 percent of their own party's voters, a statistic that gives a big edge to Yarmuth, since Democrats outnumber Republicans in the district 290,142 to 156,261.

Besides the bailout, North up also has criticized Yarmuth for not supporting a December 2007 federal resolution honoring Christmas while he voted for resolutions honoring Muslim and Hindu religious observances.

Yarmuth said he voted "present" instead of "aye" for the Christmas resolution because he thought it trivialized a sacred religious holiday. He noted it came after resolutions such as designation of "Watermelon Month."

Northup, a Catholic, has said her criticism of Yarmuth on the Christmas resolution is not related to the fact that he is Jewish.

The two candidates have also sparred about a timetable for withdrawal of troops from Iraq. On an hourlong debate shown statewide on Kentucky Educational Television on Oct. 20, Yarmuth advocated getting troops out of Iraq as soon as possible. He contended that his opponent has followed President Bush's handling of the war. Northup said no specific timetable for troop withdrawal should be set.

As a member of Congress for 10 years, Northup said, she "rolled up my sleeves" and secured federal funding for such projects as a Louisville bridge, expansion of the city's airport and community centers.

But Yarmuth said Northup concentrated on the wealthy. "We need to empower all the people," he said.

Yarmuth also touted his work in Congress, especially more funding for veterans.

His TV ads have stressed his help for the district with such projects as securing job-retraining for Ford workers in the county.

Northup's campaign has gotten publicity from an early September mailer in which her husband, Woody Northup, said his wife was like Republican presidential nominee John McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin.

In the fund-raising letter, Woody Northup said he was impressed with Palin's speech at the Republican National Convention. "Our country is indeed fortunate to have such a strong, intelligent, principled, articulate conservative woman running for higher office," he said of Palin.

He added, "I couldn't help but think that our community has also been extremely fortunate to have a strong, intelligent, principled, articulate woman represent us in Congress for 10 of the last 12 years: my wife, Anne Northup."

Though McCain leads Obama statewide in Kentucky presidential polls, Obama holds a substantial lead in polls in Jefferson County, home of the 3rd Congressional District.

Yarmuth was one of Obama's early supporters.