Kentucky: With Roberts Out, GOP May Recycle Northup

Posted January 18, 2008 at 6:26pm

Republicans suddenly lost their candidate in the 3rd district late last week when Erwin Roberts (R), a former assistant U.S. attorney and one-time director of the state Office of Homeland Security, announced that he will not file to run against freshman Rep. John Yarmuth (D).

Earlier in the week, Roberts, who also serves as a captain in the Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps, informed supporters that he had been called up for a 12-month active tour of duty.

After suspending his campaign to explore his possibilities, Roberts said in a statement Thursday evening that “I want to allow for other candidates to have the opportunity to fully consider this important race; therefore, I am announcing that I will not be a candidate for Kentucky’s Congressional District in 2008.

“Given the immediate and strong interest of other candidates to consider the race, I feel this clarity from my campaign will allow the party to have the opportunity to nominate a strong, viable candidate,” Roberts said.

As the GOP scrambles to find a replacement to Roberts, former Rep. Anne Northup (R) was polling within the margin of error in a hypothetical rematch of her 2006 loss to Yarmuth, according to a recent survey commissioned by the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Since Roberts was called up, Northup has been reported to be considering a run again, and the NRCC, where Northup’s former chief of staff, Terry Carmack, serves as political director, seems to be interested in bringing the former Congresswoman back.

According to a memorandum to the NRCC from the polling firm Voter/Consumer Research, Northup would get 47 percent to Yarmuth’s 49 percent in a survey of 300 registered voters in the 3rd district. The survey was taken Jan. 10-14 and had a 5.7-point margin of error.

The poll also found that Northup had a 57 percent to 37 percent favorable/unfavorable split, while Yarmuth had a 54 percent to 27 percent favorable/unfavorable. Thirty-eight percent of voters in the 3rd district had a “very favorable” impression of Northup, while just 25 percent had a “very favorable” impression of Yarmuth.

The Louisville-based 3rd district tilts Democratic in presidential contests.
— John McArdle