Business as usual for incumbent Northup
Kentucky's 3rd Congressional District
(CNN) -- Four-term GOP Rep. Anne Northup followed her tried-and-true methods in fending off this year's Democratic opponent, Tony Miller, according to a CNN projection.
Northup's combination of financial firepower, solid campaign skills and ability to exploit her opponents' weaknesses helped her survive in this blue district nestled in the middle of red Kentucky.
The Democrats had believed Miller, the four-term Jefferson Circuit Court Clerk, would fare better than Northup's opponents had in the past.
The Democrats' hopes for Miller, who is more moderate on social issues than previous challengers, rested on the belief that an increasingly polarized and partisan electorate would work to his favor, since the district gave Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore 50 percent of the vote in 2000.
While he never came close to matching Northup in fundraising --Miller's $460,647 at the end of June was only about half of that raised by Northup's 2002 opponent, Jack Conway -- Miller didn't believe having a lot of money was necessary because he had a head start on past candidates in name recognition.
He worked hard to tie Northup as closely as he could to Bush -- noting in just about every other sentence that she had voted 98 percent of the time with the administration. One of Miller's ads noted that Northup "has been a strong supporter of George Bush's war."
Northup stuck to her campaign M.O.: stockpiling a hefty war chest and attacking her opponent. She also reminded voters that as a member of the Appropriations Committee, she has been able to deliver for the district -- pointing to her work in bringing a VA hospital to Louisville -- and strongly refuted Miller's assertion that she is a puppet of the Bush administration. Northup proudly talked about how she has shown independence from the party leadership, especially on importing drugs from Canada.
A Bluegrass poll of 545 voters taken in mid-September by the Louisville Courier-Journal showed that Northup held a solid seven-point lead, 47 percent to Miller's 40.