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Republicans host two local rallies

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McConnell bus tour stops in Taylor County on Monday.

By James Roberts

With the General Election just two weeks away, Republican candidates drummed up local support with a pair of Campbellsville rallies.

The rallies started Saturday at the Veterans Memorial Park community center where State Representative candidate John "Bam" Carney and 4th District Magistrate candidate Matt Pendleton addressed a crowd of about 60. A representative spoke in support of U.S. representative candidate Brett Guthrie, who was unable to attend Saturday's event.

Guthrie was on hand Monday, as he and U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell visited several central Kentucky cities as part of a bus tour that attracted about 140 supporters to Creek Side Restaurant. State Senate President David Williams accompanied McConnell and Guthrie, offering support to those candidates as well as John McCain's presidential bid.

At Saturday's event, Carney, who also spoke briefly on Monday, said the state needs a more efficient government and he pledged to work hard for the 51st District. And while he is a teacher, Carney said he would be available to the people full-time. Carney said he wouldn't spend all of his time in Frankfort spending tax dollars.

"We don't need a full-time legislator in Frankfort year round spending your hard earned money."

Carney said America is in the midst of a cultural war.

"If we don't get active and stand up for what we believe in, Kentucky is not going to be any different than these Left states."

He closed his speech by encouraging everyone to vote.

"We can't win it without each other."

Also at Saturday's event, Pendleton encouraged his supporters to spread the word about his campaign. Though he is a Taylor County native, he was away in the Air Force and then the National Guard for so many years that he doesn't have name recognition, Pendleton said.

"I just want to do good things for Taylor County," Pendleton said.

Saturday's rally also featured a potluck dinner and an auction.

Introducing the speakers at Monday's event, Williams encouraged locals to vote for Carney.

"Bam Carney is obviously in touch with the people of this district," he said.

Guthrie, who is vice-president of Trace Die Cast in Bowling Green, said he understands what Campbellsville went through when Fruit of the Loom left town in the late 1990s. Several years ago, he said his father lost his job at Ford Motor Co., only to help start Trace Die Cast. Starting out with five employees, today the company employs 500 people.

"We have to rebound," Guthrie said. "We have to move forward."

Guthrie said there would be no one in Washington as concerned about communities like Campbellsville as he is.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao introduced her husband, Mitch McConnell, whose speech was peppered with several rounds of applause.

As Republican leader of the U.S. Senate, McConnell is only the second senator from Kentucky to lead his party. Beyond the bragging rights, that amounts to a lot of clout that McConnell said the state can't afford to lose.

"Every senator has a vote, but every senator does not have equal influence," he said.

To trade him in for a rookie, McConnell said, would have dramatic and substantial consequences for Kentucky.

"We're not interested in going to the back bench again."

Part of that standing, McConnell said, is the "big four" meetings at the White House with the Republican and Democratic heads of the Senate and House.

"Your state has a seat at the table," he said.

McConnell said he has used his standing to secure a great deal of funding for Taylor County projects over the years.

In 2006, he said he secured $1 million for sewer line expansions along KY 70. In 2002, McConnell directed $720,000 for the Homeplace on Green River. He said he also worked to get $2 million for Campbellsville University's Technology Training Center and to get $26 million in tobacco transition funds sent directly to farmers.

"I get my report card in two weeks," McConnell told the crowd. "With your help, I'm planning on getting another A."

- Staff Writer James Roberts can be reached at 465-8111 Ext. 226 or by e-mail at writer@cknj.com. Comment on this story at www.cknj.com.