Frankfort Local News

Activist Says Voters Could Have Chosen “Uncommitted” Over Obama for Many Reasons

Kentucky has become the latest in a growing number of states where Democratic voters have chosen not to vote for President Obama in primary elections.

More than 40 percent of Democratic voters who went to the polls yesterday selected someone other than Mr. Obama.

Kentucky’s primary results have mirrored that of other southern, conservative states like Arkansas and West Virginia. In both of those states, other candidates have attracted a significant amount of the primary votes away from Mr. Obama. But in Kentucky, there was no other candidate on the ballot, and voters instead chose “uncommitted.”

Frankfort Local News Politics

Only One Incumbent Defeated in Legislative Primaries

At least one incumbent member of the Kentucky House will not be returning to Frankfort next year.

Republican-turned-Democrat Wade Hurt has lost his primary to union activist Jeff Donohue. Wade ran as a Republican in 2010 against Donohue, who has remained a Democrat. Hurt switched parties shortly after that election, saying it would help him better serve his district.

No other incumbent House or Senate members lost their seats to primary challengers, though some will face tough re-election battles in the general election.

Local News

AG: Election Fraud Complaints Up From Last Year

From Stu Johnson, Kentucky Public Radio

Calls to the state attorney general’s election fraud hotline have been running higher than a year ago. By mid-afternoon, 16 complaints had been received. That compares with a total a six complaints made during the 2011 primary. Spokeswoman Shelly Catharine Johnson says during the last presidential primary in 2008, the hotline received 59 calls.

“We like to think that our election oversight and enforcement and working in conjunction with other multiple agencies including the secretary of state’s office, the U.S. Attorney’s office, we’d like to think that our efforts are paying off.”

Johnson says all calls will be reviewed by officials in the attorney general’s office and could be referred to law enforcement.

Local News Next Louisville Politics

Secretary of State Primary: Grimes Wins; GOP Race Tight

Lexington attorney Alison Lundergan Grimes has defeated appointed Secretary of State Elaine Walker in her bid for a full term.

Grimes, the daughter of former state Democratic Party Chairman Jerry Lundergan, won about 56-percent of the vote in ousting Walker, the former mayor of Bowling Green, who was appointed to the post when Trey Grayson resigned to become director of Harvard’s Institute of Politics.

It’s been a tight race on the Republican side, with Bill Johnson leading Hilda Gregg by just over 1,000 votes with 99% of precincts reporting.

Local News Next Louisville Politics

UPDATE: Comer, Farmer Wins Primaries For Ag Commissioner

The Republican nominee for Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner will be state lawmaker James Comer, who defeated Shelby County Judge-Executive Rob Rothenburger in the GOP primary.

Bob Farmer of Louisville led a five-person field in winning the Democratic nomination for the seat, now held by Republican Richie Farmer. Richie Farmer is in his second and final term and is a candidate for Lt. Governor.

Local News

Primary Senate Race Fires Up Democrats

By Elizabeth Kramer

This year’s open U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Senator Jim Bunning has Kentucky Democrats brimming with hope that this could be their year to have one of their own on that side of that ruling body for the first time in more than a decade. With the primary election only five days away, the battle is heating up between Democrats Jack Conway and Daniel Mongiardo.

And this Senate race in particular had Jefferson County Democrats whooping and hollering last Friday at a party dinner as Congressman John Yarmuth introduced the last Democrat from Kentucky to hold a U.S. Senate seat.

“The great Senator Wendell Ford,” Yamouth’s voice bellows through the cavernous room.

After serving as Kentucky Governor, Ford was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1974 and held that seat for 24 years. Now, at 85 years old, he’s itching for his party to win his old seat back.

“It’s been 4,148 days since I left the Senate,” Ford says, “And it’s time to get that seat back with one of these two candidates.”

Those two candidates are Attorney General Jack Conway and Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo. And what gives Democrats hope is how six years ago then-State Senator Mongiardo came within 2 percentage points from defeating Republican Senator Jim Bunning.

Then a major issue was the Iraq war and Mongiardo campaigned on that and health care. This time around, he’s talking about the state’s financial health and taking his talking points to voters throughout the rural and urban rural areas, as he did recently in Louisville.

“If we got government back to bottom-up management,” Mongiardo says, “we’ll solve the problems that are facing our families today — the loss of jobs, the loss of homes, losing heath insurance and all these issues — because we’ll know them as soon as they’re happening, not by some statistic months later.”

This time around Mongiardo is not the heir apparent. His main opponent, Jack Conway, has raised more than two and half million dollars compared to Mongiardo’s nearly $2 million.

But as Conway works the same room of Democrats this evening, he sings a tune akin to his rival’s.

“Jobs and accountability and fiscal responsibility,” Conway states in a matter-of-fact manner.

But Conway’s added a twist to that song to help him close in on Mongiardo’s advantage in some of the polls to date, which Margiaro has sometimes led by double digits. In Conway’s chorus, he highlights his accomplishments in his current job.

“I’ve got to point to my positive record of accomplishment, Conway says, “of saving ratepayers over $100 million and the fact that we created a cybercrimes unit as Attorney General that’s taken 68,000 child porn images off of the Internet.”

With similar messages, the fierce competition between the two has been most apparent in campaign attack ads. For instance, Conway has criticized Mongiardo for his use of public money while travelling on state business. And Mongiardo has taken Conway to task for accepting money from people tied to Wall Street.

But some observers say it’s not the ads that will make the difference on Tuesday, but name recognition, grassroots campaigning and links to the political establishment — especially with anti-incumbent sentiment running high. One is Al Cross, the director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues at the University of Kentucky.

“With Mongiardo, the labor support he has will probably be significant in terms of turning out vote on Election Day,” Cross says. “With Conway, it’s hard to say. He’s supported by some major figures in the party, but it sort of reemphasizes that Conway’s the establishment candidate.”

And as Cross sees it, it won’t be the votes from the strictly rural or urban areas that make the winner. He says he thinks the race will be decided by voters in small cities like Elizabethtown, Campbellsville, Danville, Richmond and Mount Sterling.

And whatever voters decide, the Democrats are ready to back their candidate to the hilt. Former Senator Wendell Ford is already thinking about the party’s focus next Wednesday morning, the day after voters have made their choices in the primary.

“We’ll eat our scrambled eggs and bacon, eat those biscuits,” he tells the crowd, “and turn ourselves ready for the war in November.”