Cleared by judge, Fletcher to pick new running mate

By FRED LUCAS State Journal Staff Writer Published:

With a court ruling clearing the way - at least for the time being - Republican U.S. Rep. Ernie Fletcher is ready to announce a running mate to replace Hunter Bates, ousted from the gubernatorial ticket last week.

Fletcher campaign spokesman Wes Irvin said Tuesday he didn't know the time and the location the announcement would be made, but confirmed that a lieutenant governor candidate selection was forthcoming, possibly today.

Names mentioned have been state Rep. Brian Crall of Owensboro, state Sen. Brett Guthrie of Bowling Green, Boone County Judge-Executive Gary Moore, state Republican Party chairwoman Ellen Williams and Mike Duncan, a Kentucky member of the Republican National Committee.

"I'm very pleased with the ruling and more importantly I believe that every Kentuckian is pleased," Fletcher said in a written statement issued Tuesday. "It returns this election to the polling booth instead of the courtroom. In order to move Kentucky forward, we must move beyond those good old boy political antics."

But nothing is certain yet. Franklin Circuit Judge William Graham Tuesday denied an injunction that would have prevented Fletcher from choosing a new running mate - which would have effectively ended his bid for governor. But attorneys for lieutenant governor candidate Bob Heleringer, who asked for the injunction to stop Fletcher from choosing a replacement, said they may appeal directly to the state's highest court by the end of the week.

For more on this story, see the latest State Journal.

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