Politics & Government

Web site pushes Rogers for governor

FRANKFORT - The electronic campaign for Kentucky's governor has begun -- even if the actual one is nowhere to be seen.

An anonymously created site touting U.S. Rep Hal Rogers entered the online universe yesterday, becoming the second Web page in as many weeks that's aimed at drafting a GOP official into the 2007 race.

The representative from Somerset has the "credentials, the integrity and the vision to bring bold change and cutting innovation to our commonwealth," says the site, www.halforgovernor.com.

It follows www.draftnapier.com, a site that appeared last week for Republican state Rep. Lonnie Napier of Lancaster.

Both have been put up by anonymous supporters.

When questioned about the site, Leslie Cupp, Rogers' spokeswoman, said the congressman's staff was surprised to learn about it.

"No one associated with Congressman Rogers' office has any connection to this Web site," she said in a brief e-mail response. "We saw it today for the first time and have no idea who created the site."

The statement did not mention the 2007 governor's race.

The Web site is hosted through Domains By Proxy, an Arizona-based company that registers sites without disclosing their customers' information.

A representative for the company, Nick Fuller, said he couldn't provide any information about www.halforgovernor.com yesterday.

The "Draft Hal Rogers for Governor" Web page, which includes a chat room and two pictures of the congressman, says it was launched "because the people of Kentucky deserve better and expect more from their leaders."

"In 2003, Ernie Fletcher promised to restore hope and opportunity, and to clean up Frankfort. But nearly four years later, all we have is more of the same, with mismanagement and catering to special interests and political insiders," the site says in white lettering with a blue background.

Fletcher, a fellow Republican, has pledged to seek re-election next year, but his approval rating has dropped below 40 percent. He is scheduled to face trial Nov. 8 on three misdemeanor charges stemming from the state hiring probe.

Rogers, when asked about Fletcher in May, would say only that "he is our governor."

State Rep. Ken Upchurch, R-Monticello said he hadn't heard about the Web page but thought it was "interesting."

He said many in his district -- which is the heart of Roger's congressional territory -- think highly of Rogers. But, he added, it's too early to talk about 2007.

"If this thing goes south with Gov. Fletcher, with his trial, then that definitely opens the door," he said. "And if the Democrats take control of Congress this fall, then I think Hal would be a definite possibility to run."