Governor's Race To Draw National Spotlight

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky can usually count on national headlines for its expensive horse races, but not necessarily national political races.

That could change this year as the Kentucky governor's race is one of three across the country. Louisiana and Mississippi are the only two other states electing a chief executive in 2007.

Republican Governor Ernie Fletcher was weakened by a hiring scandal that embroiled his administration. But he's seeking a second term, and after winning the primary last month, he's running against Democrat Steve Beshear, a former lieutenant governor.

For political observers, the Fletcher story line seems poised to fill the void nationally.

Kentucky already has some national clout on the Republican side, represented in Washington by U-S Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader. And Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan is from Inez in eastern Kentucky.

But Democratic Party spokesman Brian Namey says Kentucky represents a good chance for Democrats to pick up a governor's office this year. He says that's important not just for the upcoming presidential election, but also for the redistricting in 2010.

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

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