Kentucky Governor: Fletcher to Hit Airwaves

March 7, 2007 · 12:05 AM EST

Embattled Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher (R) is set to launch a statewide media blitz next week in his effort to win renomination and ultimately reelection.

The governor’s first term has been marred by investigations into his administration’s hiring practices, resulting in Fletcher drawing two primary challengers, former Cong. Anne Northup and wealthy businessman Billy Harper.

A February 9-11 SurveyUSA automated poll conducted for television stations in Cincinnati and Louisville showed Fletcher with 36% approve/59% disapprove job ratings among all voters and a slim 33%-31% edge over Northup in the GOP primary in a March 3-5 SurveyUSA poll. A January 28-29 Public Opinion Strategies poll conducted for Northup showed her even with the governor at 39% in the primary. Most recently, Fletcher’s own lieutenant governor has been publicly critical of the governor’s time in office.

While Harper has personal money to burn and went on the airwaves last year, Fletcher’s cash advantage over Northup (who lost reelection last November) is allowing him to get out early in an attempt to right the ship.

Fletcher is scheduled to go on the air on Tuesday, March 13, with a 60-second ad, at a total cost of about $392,000. The buy includes broadcast and cable in the Louisville (900+ gross ratings points), Bowling Green (700+ points), and Lexington (500+ points) markets, which covers approximately 65% of the state. The ad is also scheduled to air on cable only in the Paducah, Cincinnati (OH), Charleston (WV), and Evansville (IN) markets that overlap the state.

The primary is set for May 22. Candidates must reach 40% in order to avoid a June 26 runoff. Seven Democrats are vying to be their party’s nominee in November. If Fletcher is the GOP nominee, Democrats view Kentucky as a top takeover opportunity. And even more than a few Republicans think only Northup has a chance to hold the governorship.

This item first appeared on Political Wire on March 6, 2007.