Local News Politics

Kentucky Republicans Hold Unity Rally

In the wake of Tuesday’s primary election, around 200 Kentucky Republicans turned out for a unity rally Saturday at state GOP headquarters in Frankfort.

The spotlight fell mostly on Senate President David Williams, the Republican gubernatorial nominee. After getting all of Tuesday’s winners to join him on stage, Williams launched into an attack on Gov. Steve Beshear, the Democratic nominee.

“One of the first things that’s been in doubt, by the Courier-Journal and the Herald-Leader, was answered. After a series of tests, they determined I do have a heart!  And they knew I had a brain. And unlike Steve Beshear, I have a spine,” he said.

And it’s clear Williams is going to keep making an issue of Gov. Beshear’s recent snub of President Obama at Ft. Campbell.

“There are some things more important than politics, and honoring those folks are more important than that. Steve Beshear went to a horse race because he was worried about his own race,” he said.

Williams often sounded much like a tea party candidate.

“It was the various states that created the federal government,” he said. “The federal government did not create the states. And this team here will go forward and challenge the federal government.”

U.S. Senator Rand Paul appeared briefly via the Internet, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was at the rally. He said the best way to stop President Obama and get Kentucky going in the right direction, all on the same day, would be to elect David Williams governor.

Local News Politics

Legg Officially Requests Recanvass

Former federal administrator Hilda Legg of Somerset has officially requested a recanvass of the vote in the Republican primary for Kentucky Secretary of State.

On Tuesday, Legg lost the primary by just over 1,100 votes to tea party favorite Bill Johnson of Elkton. The unofficial vote tally was 66,439 for Johnson, to Legg’s 65,325.

Legg’s letter requesting a recanvass of the vote has been received by Secretary of State Elaine Walker, who is notifying county clerks to conduct the recanvass on the morning of Thursday, May 26th.

A recanvass involves re-checking voting machine totals, to make sure no math or human errors occurred on election night. It is not the same as a recount, which must be ordered by a judge, is expensive and must be funded by the requesting candidate.

Local News Politics

Legg to Seek Recanvass in Secretary of State Primary

by Angela Hatton, Kentucky Public Radio

Former Republican secretary of state candidate Hilda Legg says she will seek a recanvass when the votes from Tuesday’s primary election are certified. Legg lost the GOP nomination to businessman Bill Johnson by fewer than 1,100 votes.

Johnson’s political director James Young says they support the recanvass.

“Because we will need her supporters in the fall. We will need Hilda Legg’s support going into November to face Alison Grimes, a very formidable, a very—she will be very well funded and we cannot go in as a divided Republican Party,” he says.

A recanvass checks for mathematical, machine, and human error in vote counting. Both sides say it’s unlikely the recount will change the outcome of the race.

“I feel like I owe that to my many supporters, just to make sure there was inadvertently accounting errors, an accounting error, y’know a transposed number. Just any reporting errors, we want to make sure we take a second look at them,” says Legg.

Legg and Johnson plan to attend a Republican Unity Rally in Frankfort this weekend.

Local News Politics

Johnson Declares Victory

The Republican nominee for the Kentucky Secretary of State’s office has already begun his general election campaign.

Bill Johnson narrowly defeated Hilda Legg to win the nomination, and he says his Tea Party endorsement and appeal to mainstream Republicans will make him a formidable opponent against Democratic nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes.

In his victory speech, Johnson repeated his support for one of the more controversial issues of the Secretary of State’s race.

“Now as I campaign, I’m going to continue to talk about the issues. First, we need to have a requirement in this state that you show a picture ID before you vote, and I’m going to work hard to make that happen,” he says.

Opponents of such measures say the requirement disenfranchises poor and minority voters.

Johnson further said he has to reach out to Legg’s supporters to ensure a united Republican front in November.

Local News Politics

Walker Predicts Ten Percent Voter Turnout for Primary

Secretary of State Elaine Walker is predicting low voter turnout for Tuesday’s primary election in Kentucky, even though voter registration numbers are up.

A record 2.9 million Kentuckians are now registered to vote. That’s 11,000 more than in the 2008 General Election, the previous record. But getting voters excited about Tuesday’s primary appears to be a tough sale, says Secretary of State Elaine Walker. She’s predicting voter turnout of around nine to ten percent.

“And I hope I’m proved wrong,” she says. “I hope that we can get people to turnout to vote in this primary, but unfortunately that’s not where we see the voter turnout ending up right now.”

The previous record low was in 1999, when the state had a 6.4 percent primary turnout. Walker says flooding in western Kentucky will require a couple of polling locations in Livingston County to be relocated, but elsewhere no major problems have been reported.

Local News Politics

Deadline to Register to Vote in May Primary is Tomorrow

Monday is the deadline to register to vote in Kentucky’s May 17th primary.

Minors who will be 18 before the November 8th general election are eligible and entitled to register to vote in the primary.

“The reason is because if you were old enough to vote in the general election then you clearly will be making a decision that would impact that candidate and that slate of candidates, and so the thinking is, that you should also be able to help determine who is going to be the ultimate party candidate,” says Secretary of State Elaine Walker.

Local News Politics

Williams Touts Internal Poll

An internal poll conducted for the gubernatorial ticket of Senate President David Williams and Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer gives the slate the lead in the GOP primary with 47% of the vote

The poll places Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw and her running mate Bill Vermillion in second place with 10%. Louisville businessman Phil Moffett and his running mate, state Representative Mike Harmon, trail with 9%.

CN2 has the response from the Holsclaw and Moffett campaigns. Both criticize the numbers, either by dismissing them or pointing out that Williams and Farmer have support from less than half of those polled.

On the Democratic side, incumbent Steve Beshear is running unopposed with Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson sharing the ticket.

Independent Gatewood Galbraith is also running with Dea Riley as his running mate.

There is a lot of debate over the accuracy of internal polls. Often, campaigns only release the results when they’re favorable–sometimes inaccurately so. However, politicians will frequently argue that internal polls are at least as reliable as media-commissioned polls, because campaign polling firms rely on their accuracy to protect their reputation. In the end, this is an early poll in a primary where the field was only recently set, though Williams and Moffett declared their candidacies months ago.

Local News Politics

Kentucky Primary Races Set

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.

Local News Politics

Party Affiliation Must Be Changed This Year To Vote In 2011 Primary

Time is running out for anyone hoping to change their party affiliation for next year’s primaries.

Kentucky is a closed primary state, which means you cannot cross party lines to vote for a candidate outside your party. The primary is May 17th, but if you want to change your party affiliation before the primary, you must do so by December 31st.

Secretary of State Trey Grayson admits that during the holidays most people are not thinking about next year’s primary, but that’s the law.

“If you switch after the first of the year, you can’t vote in your old party primary because you’re not a member anymore,” he says. “But then you can’t vote in the new party primary because you didn’t meet that deadline. So, we have every year, 10,000 or so folks who switch their party affiliation after the first of the year and are thus ineligible to vote in a party primary.”

The state’s seven constitutional offices, including governor and lieutenant governor, are on the ballot next year. The filing deadline for most candidates to qualify is January 25th.

Next Louisville State of Affairs

Kentucky Primary Analysis

On Wednesday we’ll be looking back at the campaigns and the primary to talk about who won, who lost and what’s next. For Louisville Metro Mayor in the fall it will be a race between Greg Fischer, Hal Heiner and who knows how many independents. We know incumbent John Yarmuth will face Todd Lally for 3rd District US Congressman. It’s Rand Paul on the Republican side of the US Senate race, and Jack Conway for the Democrats. Join us with your election stories. You can also track the statewide results at this cool site from the Kentucky State Board of Elections.  Listen to the Show