By JOE BIESK
Associated Press Writer
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Auditor Crit Luallen won a second term Tuesday over Republican Linda Greenwell in a rematch of the race
from four years ago.
With 90 percent of precincts reporting, Luallen had 522,079 votes or 60 percent, to Greenwell's 353,069 votes or 40 percent.
Luallen won by about 15,300 votes in the 2003, but said Democrats came out stronger for her in this year's race.
"We brought the Democrats back home tonight," Luallen said.
Luallen, mentioned as a possible challenger to Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell next year, said the election results show that voters are "ready for change."
"I think there is a sentiment nationally that is also calling for change and I think the momentum coming out of this governor's race will put the winds at the back of the Democratic candidate for the United States senate," Luallen said.
Greenwell, a retired management specialist for United Parcel Service, was a political newcomer four years ago when she faced Luallen in the 2003 election amid a wave of pro-Republican sentiment that elected Gov. Ernie Fletcher. Luallen, a Democrat, won by about 15,300 votes, tallying 513,454 votes to Greenwell's 498,984.
Greenwell, however, has spent this campaign's final week with her sick mother rather than out rallying voters. Her elderly mother has been hospitalized with pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Her absence from the campaign's closing days may have prompted some voters to incorrectly think she dropped out of the race and could hurt her chances, Greenwell said.
"I've had many calls saying, 'Why did you drop out of the race?' which, of course, I didn't," Greenwell said.
The auditor of public accounts, among other things, is responsible for scrutinizing accounts and transactions for all state agencies and conducts special investigations and performance audits of state programs and county governments. It pays $101,596.32 annually
Luallen, who was a top official in former Gov. Paul Patton's administration, briefly considered a run for governor, but after two unrelated bouts of cancer within 18 months, Luallen decided against it.
She raised more campaign donations than Greenwell. Greenwell had raised nearly $30,000 and spent about $27,000 while Luallen had raised nearly $420,000 and spent about $370,000, according to the latest records of the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance.
Before entering the statewide political scene, Greenwell was active in local county politics. She and her husband, Bill Greenwell, live on a farm near Taylorsville. Greenwell has a degree in police administration from the University of Louisville.
Luallen has worked for six governors during her 34 years in state government. It's that experience, Luallen says, that has made her qualified to run the state auditor's office because she knows state government's intricate details.
Before her 2003 election as state auditor, Luallen was Patton's executive secretary of the cabinet, a role that had her involved in developing and steering the administration's policy. Over her career, Luallen has worked for Govs. Wendell Ford, Julian Carroll, John Y. Brown, Martha Layne Collins, Brereton Jones and Patton.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)