Politics & Government

Bunning: More big names to back Northup

LOUISVILLE - U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning predicted that Kentucky's second in command won't be the only high-ranking Republican to throw support to an opponent of Gov. Ernie Fletcher.

Republicans have been disappointed with Fletcher, especially after a hiring scandal mired his first term in office, Bunning said yesterday. The Republican senator said that would probably lead to more endorsements of Anne Northup in the May 22 GOP primary.

Bunning wouldn't say who might endorse Northup, only that "some very high-profile Republicans" are likely to back the former congresswoman from Louisville in her bid to unseat Fletcher.

"It is an indication of the dissatisfaction with the Fletcher administration," Bunning said. "It's disappointment more than dissatisfaction."

Bunning's comments came the day after Lt. Gov. Steve Pence threw his support to Northup, saying she is the better candidate and "has a real chance of winning." Pence has already refused to run for re-election with Fletcher.

Marty Ryall, a spokesman for Fletcher's re-election campaign, didn't address Bunning's comments directly. But he said Republicans want a candidate like Fletcher who will take care of the economy, health care and other pressing issues.

"The politics of personal destruction is a Washington, D.C., disease that has made its way to Kentucky. Greg Stumbo has spread it and Anne Northup has embraced it," Ryall said. "Gov. Fletcher's message will prevail over the attacks by Greg Stumbo and Anne Northup and anyone else they enlist."

Bunning has already endorsed Northup.