Kentucky: Pizza Magnate Hopes to Deliver Seat to GOP

Posted December 2, 2009 at 6:32pm

Louisville restaurant owner Jeffrey Reetz (R) announced Wednesday that he will challenge Rep. John Yarmuth (D) in the Bluegrass State’s 3rd district next year.

Reetz is a political newcomer but described himself in a news release Wednesday as a champion for small businesses and an opponent of the “same old big government approach taken by too many— politicians in Washington, D.C.

“Over the past 3 years, I have become increasingly concerned with the leadership of our country, including our Congressional Representative in the 3rd district,— Reetz said in the statement. “With double digit unemployment; entire local industries at risk; our national deficit at a record high; and our troops still at war; I can no longer sit on the sidelines and I know more needs to be done to protect our community.—

After living in Louisville for two years during the 1990s, Reetz moved to the city permanently in 2000 when he purchased 25 Pizza Hut restaurants in the city and southern Indiana. According to a release from his company, 2JR Pizza Enterprises has annual revenues of nearly $30 million.

Reetz, who met with officials from the National Republican Congressional Committee in mid-November, said he can’t self-fund his entire campaign, but he plans on making some contributions of his own money. He said he hoped to raise $250,000 by year’s end.

Reetz will face a steep uphill battle against Yarmuth, a second-term Congressman who easily defeated former Rep. Anne Northup (R) in 2008 in a rematch of their close 2006 contest. The 3rd district is a Democratic-leaning seat that went for President Barack Obama in last year’s presidential race by 13 points. It was the only Congressional district in Kentucky that Obama won.

As of Sept. 30, Yarmuth reported more than $414,000 in cash on hand.