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Anne Meagher Northup (born January 22, 1948) is an Americanmarker Republican politician from the state of Kentuckymarker. From 1997 to 2007, she represented the Louisvillemarker-centered 3rd congressional district of Kentuckymarker in the United States House of Representatives, where she served on the powerful House Appropriations Committee. She lost reelection to Democratic politician John Yarmuth in the 2006 election. She then ran for governor, losing by 15 points to embattled Governor of Kentucky Ernie Fletcher in the Republican primary election for the 2007 Kentucky gubernatorial election. Prior to her election to the United States House of Representatives, Northup had served in the Kentucky House of Representatives.

Northup ran again for her old congressional seat in the 2008 election, losing again to Yarmuth.

On July 30, 2009, President Barack Obama announced nominated Northup to a seat on the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on August 7.


Northup was born to a large family, having nine sisters and a brother, and grew up in St. Matthewsmarker, a suburb of Louisville. Northup was educated at Sacred Heart Academymarker and Saint Mary's Collegemarker, earning a bachelor's degree in economics and business. She married Woody Northup, who attended nearby Notre Damemarker, and they have six children. One of her sisters is Mary T. Meagher, who won three gold medals in swimming (butterfly) in the 1984 Summer Olympics, as well as a bronze in 1988.

She was one of the wealthiest members of the House of Representatives, ranking 34th out of the 435—with assets of $4.4 million to $15.9 million—based on financial disclosure statements made for the 2006 campaign.

Political career

Northup first became active in politics as a volunteer for Ronald Reagan's 1980 presidential campaign. She was elected to the Kentucky General Assembly in 1987 where she served as Representative of Kentucky's 32nd House district until 1996.

She was elected to the United States House in 1996, narrowly defeating one-term Democratic incumbent Mike Ward. The seat had been held for the previous 24 years by Democrat Ron Mazzoli.

1998 campaign and second term

In 1998, Northup defeated Democratic candidate Chris Gorman, a former state attorney general, by just 4 percentage points. She voted for three of the four impeachment charges against President Clinton in December 1998.

2000 campaign

In 2000, Northup defeated Eleanor Jordan, receiving 53% of the vote to Jordan's 44%. Jordan, a member of the Kentucky General Assembly who began her adult life as an unwed mother on welfare, was trying to become Kentucky's first black member of Congress. As with many of Northup's other opponents, Jordan argued that Northup too often sided with her Republican counterparts, voting the party line over 90% of the time. Northup ran on her record of getting federal money for the district, and argued Jordan would be "too liberal" for constituents.

The competitive race—the candidates were in a dead heat in early polls—was of national interest in a year when Democrats were trying to regain control of the house. It attracted a visit from then-President Bill Clinton in support of Jordan, and became at the time the second most expensive House race in Kentucky history. A memorable Northup ad featured a clip of Jordan speaking in the Kentucky House's floor, urging colleagues to hurry up and vote a bill, saying "I have a fund-raiser at 6 o'clock and I want to get out of here." The Courier-Journal credited that ad, combined with Jordan's admission on a local radio program that she didn't know the cost of a Medicare bill she had voted for, with Jordan's gradual decline in support late in the campaign.

Although the race looked close early on, it became Northup's largest margin of victory and would remain so until 2004.

2002 campaign

While campaigning for a fourth term in 2002 against Jack Conway, it was revealed that Northup's office had both telephoned and sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission regarding a licensing problem that had previously been dismissed concerning her husband's company. Since the letter referred to a company vice president as a constituent and did not mention that Northup's husband was the president, the Center for Public Integrity called the action a breach of ethics and the Congressional Accountability Project called for an investigation by the House ethics panel. Northup's staff said the letter, which had also asked for updates on the application's progress, did not reveal Northup's ties to the company to avoid the appearance of special consideration. FCC officials acknowledged that the case was reopened on the date of the letter, but said it had done so before the letter arrived. The FCC said Northup's actions had no part in its decision to grant the application four days after receiving the letter.

2004 campaign

Northup was elected to a fifth term with 60 percent of the vote in 2004, her largest margin of victory. Her earlier House races were much closer. She defeated long time Jefferson County Circuit Court Clerk Tony Miller. In three debates in October, she attacked her opponent as uninformed on national issues and unprepared for office. In polls before the debates, Northup led by 7 percentage points; in polls afterwards, she led by 24 points. She ran on her past performance, as well as the promise of securing funding for two new Ohio River bridges and a new Veteran's Administrationmarker hospital.

Northup was endorsed by The Courier-Journal (typically seen as liberal), several local Democratic officeholders, and former state Attorney General Chris Gorman, a Democrat who ran against her for the seat in 1998.

2006 campaign

Northup was defeated for re-election to a sixth term in the 2006 congressional election. She lost to Democratic challenger John Yarmuth, former publisher and editorialist of the Louisville Eccentric Observer (LEO), an alternative newsweekly. Although initially considered an underdog for his lack of a political background and the potential for his views to be portrayed as strongly liberal, Yarmuth garnered 122,139 votes (51%) to Northup's 116,157 votes (48%). Third party candidates garnered 2,896 votes (1%).

The campaign was relatively civil, although ads were run calling Yarmuth a hypocrite for his statements condemning the minimum wage as immoral while his family's restaurants paid some employees minimum wage. She also attempted to exploit Yarmuth's lengthy record in print, repeating in campaign ads some of his potentially unpopular statements (such as allegedly supporting the legalization of marijuana) and holding a press conference to complain that not all of his old columns had been made available to her campaign. Major themes of Northup's campaign was that she was independent of the then-unpopular President Bush, and that she was uniquely able to secure federal funds for Louisville projects. Due to her support for many of the President Bush's policies and her past campaigning with the president her reelection was closely watched on election night as an indicator as to how well the Democrats would do in the mid-term elections.

2007 gubernatorial campaign

On January 17, 2007 Northup entered the Republican primary election for Governor of Kentucky. Northup's running mate was State Representative Jeff Hoover of Jamestown, Kentuckymarker, Republican leader in the Kentucky House. Northup received endorsements from prominent Kentucky Republicans including U.S. Senator Jim Bunning and Lt. Governor Steve Pence.

After a lengthy scandal and investigation during his first term involving alleged abuses of the state's merit-based hiring system, many believed incumbent governor Ernie Fletcher, who sought re-election, no longer had sufficient support from either the Republican Party leadership or voters. It was released from The Courier-Journal newspaper that Anne Northup was praised as a "formidable" candidate by the state's top Republican leader, long-time U.S Senator and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, although McConnell stopped short of an endorsement of any particular candidate. Northup faced Fletcher and businessman Billy Harper in the primary.

Northup began television advertisements about six weeks before the primary election, with the slogan "The only Republican who can win in November". On May 22, 2007, Northup was defeated in the Republican primary by Fletcher. Fletcher lost in the general election to Democrat Steve Beshear.

2008 campaign

On January 28, 2008, Northup announced she would run for her old congressional seat in the 2008 election. She had previously endorsed Louisville lawyer Erwin Roberts, who had planned to run, and helped raised money for him. However, Roberts withdrew from the race after learning he would likely be called to active duty in the U.S. Army Reserve. Northup defeated Bob DeVore Jr. and developer Chris Thieneman in the Republican primary. Yarmuth was not opposed in the Democratic primary.

At a press conference held in front of a gas station on June 17, 2008, Northup said that the 2008 elections were about the rising price of energy.

On November 4, 2008, Northup was defeated by John Yarmuth 59% to 41%.


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