All's quiet with the local option campaigns in Harrodsburg

October 31, 2003|ANN R. HARNEY

HARRODSBURG The outcome of Tuesday's vote on liquor by the drink in this city may be the only thing unknown about the race.

Both sides say there is little new to say about a the fourth race in five years concerning the sale of alcohol, and the outcome likely will depend on the turnout.

"What is there to say that hasn't already been said in previous campaigns," said Phillip Crump, the leader of the group favoring the sale of liquor by the drink in this election.

Mike Conover, leader of the group opposing the sale of liquor by the drink, is happy the race has been quiet this time. "I'm glad there hasn't been any rancor (during this campaign,)" he said. "It seems like most people see it as an issue about which we can disagree without ill will."


Crump said those supporting the sale of alcohol will get out more signs and door hangers this weekend, but he said the most of work that needs to be done is getting the people out to vote for the question on the ballot.

The question that will be asked of city voters is if they favor the sale of alcoholic beverages by the drink in restaurants that seat at least 100 people.

"We're not going to change people's minds," Crump said about how they'll vote. "How much more simple can it be than to say, 'Just go vote?'"

The wet forces went door-to-door this year to get signatures on a petition that got the question on the ballot. In past years, both sides have been more vocal and accusatory.

The signs and billboards put out so far by the wet group this year have a new slogan: "It's OK to vote yes." The dry group's signs and posters have been pretty much the same over the four campaigns: "Vote no."

With the experience of three previous elections, Conover said he thinks his group is getting more adept in one part of an election. "I think our group is getting very skilled at the voter turnout aspect," he said. "In the past, we haven't done a good job getting them out to vote, but we have been able to identify them."

Conover predicts the dry forces will win this election by 250-300 votes. The election last year encompassed the entire county. This year's vote is limited to the city of Harrodsburg. Had it been just the city votes that counted in the last election, the wet forces would have lost by less than 100 votes.

"We've tried to keep it calm and quiet and let the people decide," Crump said. "I think the big race in the county is Bruce Harper and Ronnie Compton."

Crump was referring to the only other contested election in Harrodsburg and Mercer County, the choice of county clerk in which interim clerk Harper, a Democrat, is being challenged by Republican Compton. That race and the race for governor and other state offices may have an impact on turnout.

Veteran clerk Larry Short was elected to a new term last November, but resigned in July, pointing to the cost of the county's family plan for health insurance as the reason for resigning just six months into the new term.

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