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Lewis apologizes, London drops out

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By Nathan L. McBroom

After receiving heavy criticism for questionable campaigning practices, U.S. Rep. Ron Lewis publicly apologized last week for waiting until minutes before the filing deadline to withdraw his bid for Congress.

Just before the filing deadline on Jan. 29, Lewis withdrew from the race to represent the Second Congressional District, which includes Shelby County, in the U.S. House of Representatives. His withdrawal came just seconds after his chief of staff, Daniel London, entered the race.

Some criticized Lewis for trying to set up London to win the nomination.

London, who could not be reached for comment, showed signs of second guessing his actions by withdrawing his bid from the Republican nomination last Thursday - the same day Lewis issued his apology.

In a press release, Lewis apologized for his action and said his judgment was clouded by concern for the political future of the district.

"I would like to publicly apologize for my poor judgment and humbly ask for the forgiveness of all I have let down," Lewis 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."

Lewis said he is not seeking re-election in order to spend more time with his family.

In an interview with the Sentinel-News after the filing deadline, London emphatically denied that he or Lewis did anything wrong.

"I'll be first to admit that it looks like a rigged deal, but that just isn't the case," he said.

With London now out of the race, the Republican nomination has been conceded to Republican state Sen. Brett Guthrie of Bowling Green. Guthrie filed for the seat right after London filed and just before Lewis withdrew.

Guthrie said rumors of Lewis's withdrawal had started to spread the weekend before the filing deadline. He said he decided to prepare his paperwork and wait at the filing office in Frankfort so that he "would be ready to run if he pulled out."

In a press release, Guthrie said he hopes to continue what Lewis started in Congress.

"Congressman Lewis has been a consistent voice for conservative values in Washington D.C. I intend to carry that message throughout this campaign, and those principles with me to Congress," Guthrie said.

With the Republican nomination solidified, Guthrie will have to wait until the May primary to see who he is facing in the November election.

Democratic state Sen. David Boswell and Daviess County Judge-Executive Reid Haire will face each other in a Democratic primary this May.