Lewis Aide Ends House Bid That Party Establishment Fought

Posted February 7, 2008 at 3:50pm

Former top Capitol Hill aide Daniel London has ended his Congressional bid in Kentucky’s 2nd district, a week after state GOP leaders and the National Republican Congressional Committee foiled an attempt by retiring Rep. Ron Lewis (R) to clear the primary field for London, his longtime chief of staff.

Also on Thursday, Lewis issued an apology for trying to hand the nomination to his aide.

“I would like to publicly apologize for my poor judgment and humbly ask for the forgiveness of all those who I have let down,” he said. “There are no excuses for how I chose to manage my announcement. I regret it deeply and want to do all that I can to put it right and restore your faith in me during my remaining time in office.”

London said in an interview Thursday afternoon that the events of the past week all happened very suddenly and that upon reflection he felt it was best for him and the party to end his bid.

“It happened quickly and upon reflection of my family situation and the fact that I need to put my family first, I think it’s better that I withdraw and wait until another time to pursue my political career,” London said. “I’ve decided to withdraw from the race and throw my absolute full support behind state Sen. Brett Guthrie (R). We’ll unite and make sure that we get him elected.”

Guthrie was recruited by state and national party officials at the 11th hour after it became known that Lewis was pulling out of his re-election bid and attempting to hand the Republican nomination to London with a late-day filing maneuver last Tuesday, the final day to file in Kentucky.

In the past week much of the Kentucky Republican establishment, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Jim Bunning, were lining up behind Guthrie’s campaign. London denied Thursday that he was pressured by the party establishment to step down.

One Kentucky political insider said London “realized he was on an island and hopelessly outgunned.”

Republicans will now be unified in a potentially tough general election race against one of two candidates seeking the Democratic nomination.

“I’m really pleased that Daniel has endorsed my candidacy,” said Guthrie, who noted that London already was making calls to his supporters on Thursday asking them to endorse Guthrie’s campaign. “Now it gives me the opportunity to start focusing on November, putting the organization together and having the resources necessary to run a good Congressional campaign.”

London said he would return to Lewis’s staff next Monday to resume his duties as chief of staff.