Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Republican Governors Association Quick to Support Williams

Praising Republican gubernatorial candidate David Williams, the Republican Governors Association issued a statement Tuesday in support of the GOP nominee that blasted Democratic Governor Steve Beshear and President Barack Obama.

Williams beat Louisville businessman Phil Moffett and Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw in the May 17 primary with 48 percent of the vote, but lost to both challengers in the state’s most populous counties.

The GOP association echoed the state Senate President’s victory speech, saying that if elected, Williams will improve the state’s economy and stand up to the president.

From the RGA:

“David Williams’ victory is an important first step towards putting Kentucky back on the right track. David’s message of creating jobs, protecting the taxpayers, and standing up to the Obama administration resonates with Kentucky voters and contrasts sharply with Steve Beshear’s record as governor,” says executive director Phil Cox. “Unfortunately, Steve Beshear’s time as governor has been marked by disappointment. He has repeatedly supported Barack Obama’s most wasteful policies and has watched Kentucky’s unemployment rate climb higher than in all its neighboring states. Kentuckians know they can do better than Steve Beshear.”

The general election pits Williams against Beshear and independent candidate Gatewood Galbraith in what analysts predict will be a hard fought race.

Local News Noise & Notes Politics

UPDATE: Only Two Calls Received on Vote Fraud Hotline

UPDATE: As of 3 p.m. EDT, two calls have been received by the Kentucky attorney general’s election fraud hotline since the polls opened Tuesday morning.  One call came from Fayette County and the other from Henry County.  Both calls were characterized as general complaints and did not involve allegations of vote-buying.

With a dismal turnout expected in today’s primary, the Kentucky attorney general’s office is reporting no calls to the state’s election fraud hotline.

As of noon, the tip line had received no allegations of wrongdoing at any of the state’s polling locations. The phone service had been busy in recent years, but this year’s primary is predicted to see only a nine percent turnout.

“It has been a slow day for the attorney general’s election fraud hotline,” says Attorney General’s spokesperson Shelley Johnson.

During last year’s primary, the hotline received a total of 116 calls from 43 counties while polls were open and voters are still encouraged to contact the hotline if they witness any instances of irregularities or electioneering.

“We’ve had some very big elections in the last few years and that’s resulted in certainly more calls to our election fraud hotline,” says Johnson. “The light voter turnout today, fewer candidates on the ballot and virtually no local candidates those are also big factors as well.”

The tip line did receive three calls the day before the primary, but those involved procedural and absentee ballot questions. The fraud hotline is 1-800-328-8683, and will be staffed until polls close at 7 p.m. EDT.

Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Conway, Mongiardo to Co-Chair Grimes Campaign

With less than a week until the primary election, Democratic secretary of state candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes has announced that Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway and Lt. Governor Daniel Mongiardo will serve as statewide co-chairs of her campaign.

Grimes is seeking the party’s nomination in a closely watched race against incumbent Secretary of State Elaine Walker, who was appointed by Governor Steve Beshear earlier this year to serve the final 11 months of former Secretary of State Trey Grayson’s term.

In an interview with WFPL, Grimes says she is honored the two rivals came together to support her candidacy and she believes it represents a united Democratic front heading into the May 17 primary.

“I think having Jack Conway and Daniel Mongiardo by my side demonstrates their confidence and belief that I’m the person that can help get that job done. That I’m the person that this state, that this party needs right now and I’m hopeful that will translate on Election Day to voters who are going into that voting booth,” she says.

Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Walker Reminds Voters of “Do’s and Don’ts” in Upcoming Election

For the few citizens who are projected to participate in the May 17 primary election, Secretary of State Elaine Walker has released a “Do’s and Don’ts” list for Kentucky voters.

“We want to make sure that people are informed about the upcoming election and their rights as voters,” says Walker.  “We hope more people participate in the upcoming election than we expect; and are trying to raise awareness about the primary election in every way possible.  This election is critically important and I encourage everyone to get out and vote.”

The list is designed to help voters understand state election law and process when they go the polls on Election Day.

From the secretary of state’s office:

Do:  Verify your voter registration status before you head to the polls.  Visit the Voter Information Center at

Don’t: Get discouraged by long lines or long ballots. You can be prepared by previewing your ballot online at Vote.Ky.Gov.  Remember, as long as you are in line by 6 PM, local time, on May 17th you will be able to cast your ballot.

Local News Noise & Notes Politics

UPDATE: P’Pool Flexes Fundraising Output, Conway Camp Responds

Running unopposed in the primary election, Republican candidate for attorney general and Hopkins County Attorney Todd P’Pool raised an impressive $114,335, according to the latest campaign finance reports.

The 15-day reporting period is the last filing before the May 17 primary and stretches from April 15 through May 1. Records show during that time P’Pool raised the second highest amount among any candidate seeking statewide office, behind only Governor Steve Beshear, who raised $200,627 since the last filing.

In a news release, the P’Pool campaign bragged about outpacing Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway, who raised only $35,530 during that period.

Local News Next Louisville Politics

IUS Student On Ballot For Jeffersonville Council Seat

Candidates for municipal office across Indiana are launching their general election campaigns, now that the primaries are over.

Among the candidates for Jeffersonville City Council is Republican Matt Owen, a 20 year old student at Indiana University Southeast.

Owen was the top vote-getter in the GOP primary for three at-large council seats. Two other Republicans and three Democrats are also vying for the seats.

“A major thing for me is just general communication between public officials and the general public. I know a lot of people that live in Jeff say they just don’t feel representation anymore. We have some officials who just do what they like to do. And we’re looking to change that,” he said.

Owen had considered running for Jeffersonville mayor, but is now supporting Republican nominee Mike Moore, who’s trying to unseat Democratic incumbent Tom Galligan.

Local News Noise & Notes Politics

P’Pool Raises $100,000 at Fundraising Event

Facing no opposition in the primary, Republican candidate for attorney general Todd P’Pool raised more than $100,000 during a campaign fundraiser in Madisonville last Thursday.

Since announcing his candidacy, P’Pool, who serves as the Hopkins County Attorney, has caught the attention of political observers for his successful fundraising efforts thus far.

Compared to incumbent Attorney General Jack Conway, who is also running unopposed in the Democratic primary, P’Pool is ahead by an almost 3-to-1 margin. P’Pool has contributed a quarter million dollars from his own pocket to his campaign.

P’Pool campaign manager David Ray says the race won’t heat up until later this year, but they’re laying the groundwork early to give voters a clear distinction in the general election.

Local News Next Louisville Politics

Indiana Voter Registration Deadline Approaching

Monday is the voter registration deadline for the May primary election in Indiana.

Jeremy Burton with the Secretary of State’s office says this year’s ballot will be limited to local races.

“This time around it’s offices like mayor, city and town council, city clerk-treasurers, so all municipal races,” he said.

There are several ways for Hoosiers to register to vote or change their registration status. Monday also marks the start of early voting in Indiana.

Local News Next Louisville Politics

Beshear Ends Two-Day Medicaid Tour

As lawmakers in Frankfort try again to find agreement on how to balance the Medicaid budget, Governor Steve Beshear wrapped up a two-day flyaround of the state to rally support for his plan to close the shortfall.

Beshear says he can balance the budget by moving funds around and changing the way Medicaid services are delivered. Republicans who control the state Senate are calling for across-the-board cuts to education and other programs to get Medicaid out of the red.

During a stop in Louisville Tuesday, Beshear said Republicans have had plenty of time to find some middle ground on the issue.

I’ll tell you what, I put a proposal out here to balance this budget in November. They’ve had it for three and a half months. They get in there in the Senate and dillydally around; the House did their work and three days before the end of the session, they come out with this preposterous proposal to balance Medicaid on the backs of schoolchildren. That’s not going to fly,” he said.

Beshear dismisses the notion that this has become an election year political issue between him and Senate President David Williams, who wants to unseat the governor.

A special session called by Beshear on the issue began Monday.

In-Depth News Local News Next Louisville Politics

In Depth: Statewide Races Set For May Primary

The filing deadline for public office in Kentucky has officially passed, confirming the lineup for this year’s statewide races. The primary is May 17th.

Audio MP3

There are seven statewide offices on the ballot this year – Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Auditor, State Treasurer and Commissioner of Agriculture. And now that Secretary of State Trey Grayson has officially closed the door on filing, the races are set.

The Agriculture Commissioner’s race drew the most candidates, five Democrats and two Republicans. The Democrats are Bob Farmer of Louisville, John Lackey of Richmond, David Williams of Glasgow, Stewart Gritton of Lawrenceburg and B.D. Wilson of Frankfort. The Republicans are Rob Rothenburger of Shelbyville and Rep. James Comer of Tompkinsville.

“I’m a full-time farmer,” said Comer. “I’m a citizen-legislator, as you know. I’ve been a representative for 10 years, but my background is agriculture.”

Three candidates, two Republicans and one Democrat, qualified to run for Auditor of Public Accounts. The Republicans are Rep. Addia Wuchner of Florence and John Kemper of Lexington. The Democrat is Adam Edelen of Lexington.

“We’re going to be well-financed,” said Edelen. “We’re going to be well-organized and I’m not going to be outworked in this campaign.”

The State Treasurer’s race features two Democrats and one Republican. Both Democrats – Steve Hamrick and incumbent Treasurer Todd Hollenbach – are from Louisville. The Republican is K.C. Crosbie of Lexington.

“Bills have to be paid, and they invest,” said Crosbie. “And so, it’s a tremendous opportunity,” said Crosbie. “I’ve looked into it. I’ve done a lot of research and I think there’s also a lot of great things that we can do to improve the office.”

Republican Todd P’Pool of Madisonville is running for Attorney General. So is Democratic incumbent Jack Conway, who was defeated by Rand Paul in last year’s grueling U.S. Senate race.

“I certainly took a look on the other side of the fence,” said Conway. “I took a look and tried to envision what my life would be like. How I would serve out a year as AG. What I would want to do after that. And thought about it. And I just made the decision that felt right in my gut.”

Secretary of State Trey Grayson is leaving office early for a job at Harvard University. The governor’s choice to finish Grayson’s term is Elaine Walker of Bowling Green. Walker also wants a full four-year term, but first she must defeat Alison Lundergan Grimes of Lexington in the Democratic primary.

“I’ve worked with the office of Secretary of State regularly and know how to make it work better,” said Grimes. “I think it’s time for a new generation to take the reins for fresh leadership and energy and enthusiasm. And as I travel across the state, I think that’s something that the citizens of the commonwealth will see.”

Also vying for Secretary of State are Republicans Bill Johnson of Elkton and Hilda Legg of Somerset.

In his bid for re-election, Gov. Steve Beshear escaped without Democratic primary opposition, but three Republicans want his job. They are: Senate President David Williams, Louisville businessman Phil Moffett and Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw.

“It’s been a blame game,” said Holsclaw. “David Williams blames Steve Beshear. Steve Beshear blames David Williams. And I’ve come to the conclusion, and really what put me over the edge, is the fact – they’re both right. They both are at fault. And I think it’s time for a change. I think it’s time that Kentucky deserves to have the opportunity to speak.”

Holsclaw’s running mate is Bill Vermillion of Caneyville. Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer is running with Senator Williams and Phil Moffett’s running mate is Rep. Mike Harmon of Junction City. Gov. Beshear’s running mate is former Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson.

Gatewood Galbraith of Lexington and his running mate, Dea Riley of Shelbyville, are still collecting signatures for their independent gubernatorial bid.

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Otis “Bullman” Hensley of Harlan was a no-show. But Letcher County Democrat Ellis Keyes appeared at the last minute, wanting to run for governor. When told he needed a running mate, he scrambled around the Capitol looking for one, but ran out of time.