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« A Giuliani Post-Mortem | Blog Home Page | Ad Of The Year »

Lewis Pulls Fast One In Retiring

Kentucky Republican Ron Lewis will no longer seek re-election to his 2nd District seat this year, his office revealed yesterday in a story filled with the bizarre twists of old-school politics. Lewis's re-election paperwork had already been turned in by the state's January 29 candidate filing deadline. But as Josh Kraushaar reports, some 11th hour funny business ensued as Lewis tried to ensure his successor.

Daniel London, Lewis's chief of staff, sent his wife to the Kentucky Secretary of State's office to file her husband's paperwork to run for the seat. While there, she also withdrew Lewis's name from the ballot. Their apparent scheme would have allowed London no primary competition, and forced national Republicans to back the unopposed nominee in the general.

It almost worked. But, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports, State Senator Brett Guthrie heard about Lewis's impending retirement and rushed to the Secretary of State's office to file his own paperwork with little time to spare.

Republican officials in the state, including Senator Mitch McConnell, seemed to frown upon Lewis not announcing his retirement before the filing deadline, thereby not allowing prospective candidates time to mull their options. In a release, McConnell stated that he is "delighted" that Guthrie entered the race, but made no mention of London. NRCC spokesperson Ken Spain called Guthrie an "'A' candidate."

Guthrie and London will now face off in the May 20 Republican primary. The winner will face one of two Democrats in the general election -- State Senator David Boswell and Davies County Judge Executive Reid Haire.

The 2nd District of Kentucky includes all of 20 counties mostly south of Louisville, as well as a small part of Louisville's Jefferson County. This was President Bush's best-performing district in 2004, winning 65%. Lewis had won mostly lopsided races since entering Congress in a 1994 special election. In 2006, however, Democrat Mike Weaver, a conservative state representative and Vietnam War veteran, held Lewis to 55%.

-- Kyle Trygstad