FRANKFORT, Ky. – Republican Rep. Ernie Fletcher (search) and Democratic state Attorney General Ben Chandler (search) campaigned in eastern Kentucky on Sunday, two days before they face off in one of two key gubernatorial races in the South.
Fletcher concentrated on traditionally Democratic pockets of the congressional district he has represented for the last five years.
Although two recent independent polls indicated Fletcher with a nine-point lead among likely voters, Fletcher said Sunday, "We're running like we're 10 points behind."
Chandler planned to campaign for more than 24 hours straight, starting before daylight Monday with a Cincinnati TV interview and ending at Churchill Downs in Louisville Tuesday morning.
"It's all voter turnout," Chandler campaign manager Mark Nickolas. "One last swing through the state to remind everybody what sort of governor Kentucky needs."
President Bush (search) campaigned with Fletcher on Saturday, seeking to get a Republican elected governor in Kentucky for the first time since 1967.
Democrats were concentrating on their traditional constituencies, including labor and minority groups. Black voters in Louisville sued Friday over a Republican plan to put vote "challengers" in dozens of black precincts that helped term-limited Democratic Gov. Paul Patton (search) eke out a victory eight years ago.
"I think it's essentially racial profiling of voters," Charlie Owen, Chandler's running mate, said Saturday.
Bush also campaigned Saturday in Mississippi, where polls indicate Washington lobbyist and former Republican National Committee chairman Haley Barbour has a slim lead over Democratic Gov. Ronnie Musgrove.
Vice President Dick Cheney and former New York Mayor Rudolph Guiliani all have visited Mississippi to campaign for Barbour. Musgrove, who taped the Democrats' response to the president's weekly radio address on Friday, has tried to make a campaign issue of Barbour's inside-the-Beltway connections.
Another key Southern race comes up next week as Louisiana holds a gubernatorial runoff on Nov. 15.
Elsewhere on Tuesday, mayoral elections will be held in Houston, San Francisco and Philadelphia, where the office of incumbent John Street was bugged by the FBI. Street, who alleges the investigation is politically motivated, has built up a small lead over Republican Sam Katz since the bug was discovered.
Former Vice President Al Gore campaigned with Street on Sunday and told supporters that the city election has national implications. "Make certain that the White House does not succeed in taking over Philadelphia," Gore said.
Katz appealed to voters aboard the campaign train President Truman used on the way to his poll-defying win over Thomas E. Dewey in 1948, and predicted a similar shocker Tuesday.
"We have a surprise for John Street. And the surprise is he's only got two more days," Katz said.
Voters in Maine, Colorado, Iowa and Indiana have referendums on casinos. Mass transit is a ballot issue in Houston; Tucson, Ariz., and Kansas City, Mo. There is even a proposal for stress relief through citywide meditation in Denver.
In Kentucky, Chandler has distanced himself from Patton, dogged by a scandal over an affair and allegations that he used his office to get back at his former mistress.
Chandler has attacked Bush's economic policies and unemployment. He panned reports last week of record economic growth in the last quarter, calling it a "jobless recovery."
Republicans are in the governors' offices in nine of the 16 Census-defined Southern states, and Democrats seven. Of the 11-state old Confederacy, Republicans hold seven, Democrats four.