Northup camp: Former Fletcher administration official backing her

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Another former top-ranking official in Gov. Ernie Fletcher's administration is expected to back his GOP primary opponent Anne Northup, her campaign said Wednesday.

Northup, a former member of Congress from Louisville, has scheduled a press conference for Thursday afternoon to make the announcement. Spokesman Barry Peel would not identify the former official.

Lt. Gov. Steve Pence, who once headed the state's Justice Cabinet, has also publicly endorsed Northup. So has U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning.

Marty Ryall, Fletcher's campaign spokesman, discounted the importance of another former Fletcher administration official backing someone else in the May 22 primary.

"Both sides are going to have their share of supporters and endorsements," Ryall said.

The governor has endorsements from people across the state, and more were expected this week, Ryall said.

Fletcher is being challenged in the Republican primary by Northup and Paducah businessman Billy Harper, also a former supporter of the governor.

Both say Fletcher was too politically damaged by a state hiring investigation to withstand a Democratic opponent in the November general election.

Fletcher and his administration were accused of giving political supporters protected state jobs. The governor, who pardoned his entire administration, was charged with misdemeanors stemming from the investigation that were eventually dropped in a deal with prosecutors.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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