Dem Chandler, GOP Fletcher win in Ky.

May 21, 2003 at 1:31 PM
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LOUISVILLE, Ky., May 21 (UPI) -- Somewhere, "Happy" Chandler was smiling.

The grandson and namesake of the former Kentucky governor, senator and baseball commissioner won Tuesday's Democratic gubernatorial primary. Albert Benjamin Chandler III will face Republican Ernie Fletcher in the Nov. 4 general election.

"Why not the best for Kentucky?" Chandler, 43, a two-term attorney general, asked supporters at his victory party at the Galt House hotel in Louisville. "Second place is not good enough. As governor, I will demand we do better."

Chandler entered the ballroom to the strains of "My Old Kentucky Home," sung by his grandfather.

Fletcher, 50, said his nomination signaled voter acceptance of "our message of restoring hope and opportunity for the people of Kentucky." The three-term congressman and doctor said during the campaign he never thought he'd run for governor

The campaign was a rough-and-tumble affair, with Chandler's main challenger dropping off the ballot Friday amidst a flurry of attack ads and Fletcher being forced to replace his running mate because his first choice did not meet residency requirements.

Only 18 percent of voters cast ballots.

Chandler has been an anti-corruption crusader since he was first elected auditor in 1991. He ended the political career of former Jefferson County Sheriff Jim Green, who was convicted of tax evasion, went after the Kentucky Lottery Board for a series of bad decisions and insider deals, and indicted Gov. Paul Patton's 1995 campaign chief for allegedly using Teamsters money to pay his labor liaison Danny Ross to run a campaign outside agreed-upon spending limits.

Current Gov. Paul Patton did not seek reelection because of term limits.

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