Some Republicans not wild about prospect of 'self-serving' former Sen. Robinson returning to Frankfort

08/09/2012 09:47 AM

Laurel County Republican say Albert Robinson, a former state senator whose reputation is mixed even in his home county, is the favorite to win the Republican party’s nomination to replace Sen. Tom Jensen, who plans to withdrawal to seek a judgeship.

Jensen confirmed to CNHI’s Ronnie Ellis this week that he planned to run for an open Circuit Court judgeship and would withdrawal from the Republican-heavy 21st state Senate district. Because he was the only candidate to file, the Democratic and Republican parties would have 10 business days from his withdrawal to nominate a candidate to be on the Nov. 6 ballot. And Robinson told Ellis that “I’m ready to go. Quite frankly, I think I’ll be back (in Frankfort).”

Robinson, 73, lost the GOP primary to Jensen in May 2004 after spending twice as much money — including about $150,000 of his own funds. And he has been trying to return to Frankfort ever since.

As a result, active Republicans in the 21st state Senate District that covers Laurel, Jackson, Menifee, Powell and Estill counties now expect Robinson has enough support to get the GOP nomination to be on the November ballot. As a result some other big names from the area aren’t likely to challenge Robinson.

Marian Davis, a former Laurel County PVA and revenue department commissioner under Gov. Ernie Fletcher, said from her conversations with Republicans on the local GOP committee that Robinson has the support. She said others had tried to persuade her.

“Yes, I’ve had calls from Frankfort, Louisville and west Kentucky and local places as well asking me to consider running. But at this time, I think it would be an effort in futility,” Davis said. Then she added: “As a woman, I do have the prerogative to change my mind.”

In 2004, Jensen’s main argument against Robinson was that he was “a self-serving lawmaker.”

And Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Dan Seum of Louisville said Wednesday on Pure Politics, “I would prefer” a new candidate to emerge from that district. (4:15)

“Albert’s getting up in years, and he wasn’t all that helpful. He was self-serving, quite frankly,” Seum said. (The interview also focused on the other political effects of Jensen’s departure.)

That’s an opinion still shared by high-profile Republicans in Laurel County.

“He’s a joke,” said Warren Scoville, a London lawyer and former Laurel County Republican Party chairman who said he had no plans to run for the party’s nomination. “I hope we can find someone else that doesn’t embarrass us.”

Most notably, in 2000, Robinson quietly attached an amendment to a bill that increased pensions for lawmakers. The provision was struck down by the Kentucky Supreme Court in October 2003.

Robinson served in the Senate from 1994 to 2002 and in the state House from 1972 to 1984 and from 1986 to 1988.


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