Barton decision shocking to some

By BETH CRACE State Journal Staff Writer Published:

From bold and courageous to disappointing and shocking, local public officials and political watchers had plenty to say Thursday about Franklin County-Judge Executive Teresa Barton.

They were reacting to Barton - a lifelong Democrat - and the announcement that she will support Republican Ernie Fletcher in the governor's race.

The State Journal learned late Wednesday Barton was throwing her support to the three-term U.S. Congressman from Lexington. Barton is expected to publicly announce her endorsement of Fletcher at 2 p.m. today on the steps of the Franklin County Court House.

The news has raised some eyebrows in heavily Democratic Franklin County. Republicans and even some Democrats support Barton's decision, saying she has the right to decide who she thinks is the best candidate.

But for many local Democrats, Barton's decision has been surprising, if not shocking, and has some wondering about the future of Barton's own political career.

"I think she's finished," said former City Commissioner Sallye Hill Stumbo, a Democrat. "I think she needs to change her registration."

Barton, reached by telephone Thursday, stood by her decision.

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

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