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Candidates Seek AG Office That's Vacant After One Term

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - With incumbent Attorney General Greg
Stumbo opting out of a bid for re-election, six candidates lined up
this spring to seek his job as the state's top prosecutor.
Two Democrats and four Republicans are vying for their parties'
nomination in the May 22 primary, for a chance to compete in the
fall for the office Stumbo is vacating after a single term.
The Republicans are state Rep. Stan Lee of Lexington, Louisville
lawyer Philip Kimball, Lexington attorney Jon Larson and
Commonwealth's Attorney Tim Coleman of Morgantown.
Louisville Democrat Jack Conway faces Robert Bullock, a former
longtime assistant attorney general, in the primary.
Issues range from the attorney general's role in politics to how
the state could crack down on drugs.
Coleman said he wanted to focus on combatting Internet and
identity fraud. The state should do more - either through
faith-based or nonprofit organizations - to help drug abusers
reintegrate into society, Coleman said.
"We need a better outreach into those areas," Coleman said.
Lee, who is making his first statewide run, said he wants to use
the office to attack sexual predators and protect youngsters who
use the Internet. Lee is known for his conservative voting record
as a member of the state House.
For example, he pushed unsuccessfully for legislation earlier
this year that would have prohibited domestic partner benefits at
Kentucky's state universities and community and technical colleges.
"I've got a proven record of doing and fighting for the ideals
I think most of us hold to," Lee said.
Larson, a Lexington lawyer, said the attorney general should
encourage local prosecutors across the state to look for
alternative forms of punishment for nonviolent offenders as a way
to reduce the burdens on county jails. And, he believes an attorney
general should not push a legislative agenda.
"The attorney general should not be a legislative leader, the
attorney general should be a consensus builder," Larson said.
Kimball, who has never held office, has lost bids for the
Kentucky Supreme Court and seats in the General Assembly. He did
not return calls seeking comment for this story.
Conway, who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2002, said he
would attack Internet crimes, including financial fraud and child
sexual predators. He would also focus on "the scourge of drugs"
by using the office as a means to push for laws that would help
investigate drug cases.
Bullock, who was a prosecutor under eight attorneys general,
said his experience with the top prosecutor's office makes him the
best candidate. Bullock said one of his priorities would be to set
up panels across the state for citizens to weigh in on issues.
"There will be no political considerations in the decisions I
make," Bullock said. "I want to be attorney general - it's a job
I know, and it's a job I want.
Conway, who worked in former Gov. Paul Patton's administration
as an attorney and as deputy secretary of the executive cabinet,
said Bullock was a "nice guy" but wasn't as qualified as he was
for the job.
Whoever wins in the fall would take on an attorney general's
office that has been at the heart of an intense investigation into
Gov. Ernie Fletcher and allegations his administration steered
protected state jobs to political supporters. Stumbo's office led
the investigation that produced Fletcher's indictment on three
misdemeanor charges that were eventually dropped in a deal with
prosecutors.
Fletcher, a Republican, pardoned his entire administration and
maintained Stumbo was pursuing the investigation based on politics.
Stumbo is Democrat Bruce Lunsford's running mate in the governor's
race.

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

AP-NY-05-14-07 1343EDT


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