In the race for governor of Kentucky, Republican David Williams challenged Democratic incumbent Steve Beshear Thursday to defend his tenure in office and present voters with an agenda.
Williams appeared on WFPL Thursday to discuss his jobs plan, tax reforms and criticisms of Jefferson County Public Schools, which is entangled in litigation over its controversial student assignment plan.
The state Senate president is trailing the governor by 31 points in the latest poll, but he believes the race will get tighter as Election Day approaches. Besides the crushing lead overall, SurveyUSA shows Williams with just 51 percent of GOP voters supporting his candidacy this fall and Beshear leading among key GOP constituencies, such as abortion opponents and gun owners.
Williams says the governor’s relentless attack ads have misled voters and hurt him politically, but a broad group will come around come November.
“The Republican voters will come home when all the decisions are made and many Democrats will join us and independents if they want someone with an agenda that will create jobs in the future, well paying jobs that will gets us back on track. Or if they want someone that’s not willing to come forward and will not even tell them what the agenda is then they’ll have to vote for Steve Beshear,” he says.
But there is still in-fighting amongst Williams’s base of supporters and as the polls indicate, frustrations with the top of the ticket are beginning to boil over.
David Adams, executive director of Kentucky Knows Best, sent a message to supporters Thursday telling state Republican Party officials to cut Williams loose because he is hurting down ticket candidates.
In a telephone interview, Adams, who ran former gubernatorial candidate Phil Moffett’s campaign in the GOP primary, told WFPL Williams doesn’t have a chance and the party shouldn’t waste anymore resources on the governor’s race.
“There’s no question that the Republican Party has nominated somebody for a statewide office who can’t win and I think that’s abundantly clear to anybody who is paying attention. Any kind of conversation that we have going forward needs to be based on that fact,” says Adams.
The question of whether Williams would receive Tea Party support in the general election has been a dogged question for him since the GOP primary. But Williams says he has received Tea Party backing and polling shows 54 percent support his bid for governor.
When asked about the Tea Party leader’s message, Williams bristled at the claim and later called it a “cheap shot”, adding Adams is insignificant to the election’s outcome.
“He’s marginalized himself in many ways. He was let go by Rand Paul. He’s a marginal figure, anyone can send out any kind of e-mail that he wants to. I’m not worried about David Adams. I have tremendous Tea Party support,” says Williams. “I go to these places, so there are individuals out there for their own purposes who might say anything about anybody. I’m not worried about him.”