Fletcher says Barton made a bold move

By BETH CRACE State Journal Staff Writer Published:

Whether good or bad, no one argued that it was unusual for a Democratic County Judge-Executive in Franklin County to support a Republican gubernatorial candidate.

Several dozen gathered Friday on the steps of the Franklin County Court House as Judge-Executive Teresa Barton officially announced she was endorsing Ernie Fletcher for governor. The move has been criticized by some local Democrats who've said the decision could end Barton's political career.

Barton acknowledged she stood to lose some political support as a result.

"Today's step is a bold one," said Barton. "Today I'm pledging my support for Ernie Fletcher... In my years as a public servant, I've had difficult decisions to make and I've always asked what was best for Franklin County. I asked the same thing here."

Fletcher is running against Democrat Ben Chandler, the state's attorney general.

Fletcher, a U.S. representative from Lexington, said he welcomed Barton's support as well as all Democrats. He said he would need Democratic as well as Republican support to win.

However, even Fletcher recognized it was a rarity for a prominent Democrat from Franklin County to support a Republican candidate.

"...I can't remember when it's been done," Fletcher said following the press conference. "I'm honored to have (Barton's endorsement). You couldn't ask for better support."

According to The Associated Press as of Monday, state Board of Elections statistics showed Franklin County had 32,625 registered voters. Of those, 25,978 were Democrats and 5,125 were Republicans.

And some of those Democrats weren't pleased with Barton's decision.

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

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