Former U.S. Rep. Anne Northup endorses Comer for governor in GOP - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Former U.S. Rep. Anne Northup endorses Comer for governor in GOP primary

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The May primary is still months away, but the Republican candidates for governor are already battling for votes here in Louisville.

Local Republican leaders are lining up on both sides.

On one side, former Metro Councilman Hal Heiner, who is well known in Louisville.

On the other, Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, whose base of support is out in the state.

But today, Comer invaded Louisville to pick up a big endorsement from former three-term Louisville Congresswoman Anne Northup.

She was once one of Louisville's most powerful and well-known Republicans.

In an event staged atop the Big Four Bridge overlooking Louisville, Northup threw her support behind Comer for governor.

"We need somebody with a vision, somebody that can get elected, and somebody that can then accomplish things once they are elected," said Northup.

Northup was a big supporter of Hal Heiner when he ran for mayor in 2010. She says her backing of Comer is not a slap at her fellow Louisvillian.

"This is not about being against somebody. This is about supporting somebody that is uniquely talented, that has broad based support," said Northup.

In a counter-punch, the Heiner campaign rolled out two of it's own big name supporters; former Jefferson County Judge Executive Rebecca Jackson and Bob Russell, the retired pastor of Louisville's largest mega-church, Southeast Christian.

"I have been a supporter of Hal Heiner for a very long time," said Jackson, adding she encouraged Heiner to run for governor.

"I don't know James Comer very well," said Russell. "I just know Hal, and I know the potential he brings to the race, and I think he would make an excellent governor."

The chairman of the Jefferson County GOP says he's confident the party split will be healed before the general election next fall.

"The key here is, we know how important it is to try to have a governor in the governor's mansion. It just makes all the difference in the world for the Republican Party, and we like our chances," he said.

But for now, Comer will be trying his best to pick off as much support as he can from Heiner's home base.

"This is where all the action is. We're going to have a great organization in Louisville," said Comer.

Northup is now a lobbyist in Washington D.C., but maintains a home here in Louisville.

There's also a wildcard in the race: Louisville businessman Matt Bevin says he's leaning toward toward jumping into the GOP primary for governor.

On the Democratic side, Attorney General Jack Conway is the only announced candidate, but others have indicated they may enter the race later this fall.

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