By BRUCE SCHREINER
Associated Press Writer
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Democrat Todd Hollenbach won the race for state treasurer Tuesday over Republican Melinda Wheeler, who had pledged to abolish the office.
With 86 percent of precincts reporting, Hollenbach had 480,509 votes or 58 percent, to Wheeler's 344,375 votes or 42 percent.
Hollenbach will take over for Democrat Jonathan Miller, who is in his second term as state treasurer and cannot seek re-election because of term limits.
Besides signing checks for the state, the state treasurer's duties include maintaining the state's unclaimed property and sitting on several boards, including the Kentucky Lottery Corp., Kentucky Teachers' Retirement System and state investment commission.
Wheeler ran a highly unusual campaign that talked down the job she wanted. She said the treasurer's job was unnecessary and its duties could shift elsewhere in state government.
Abolishing the office would require a constitutional change approved by voters, and Wheeler promised to push for getting such a measure through the General Assembly and onto the ballot.
Hollenbach said the treasurer should take on more responsibilities.
One role he suggested would be as a chief advocate in making Kentuckians more financially astute to protect them from predatory lenders. He also said the treasurer could be responsible for putting together independent reviews of state economic initiatives.
Hollenbach, an attorney, has a well-known political name, especially in Louisville.
His father served two terms as Jefferson County judge-executive until being unseated in 1977 by Mitch McConnell, now Republican leader in the U.S. Senate.
Hollenbach's father made unsuccessful runs in Democratic primaries for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general.
Wheeler drew upon her broad connections across Kentucky from her previous stint as director of the state Administrative Office of the Courts.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)