Beshear again makes David Williams focal point of speech to rally Democrats for the fall

06/04/2012 07:08 AM

Even after defeating Republican David Williams in last fall’s governor’s race by 20 points, Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear is still depicting state Senate president as the political boogeyman in order to fire up Democrats.

On Friday night’s annual Wendell Ford Democratic Party Dinner, Beshear scoffed at the notion that Republicans believe they can win 10 seats to take control of the state House or that the GOP will be successful in defeating Democrats by linking them to President Barack Obama.

“Let me tell you this: There are a lot more people in Kentucky who dislike President Williams than who dislike President Obama,” Beshear said.

Beshear and Williams haven’t moved past last year’s election for governor as the two traded criticism throughout this spring’s legislative session over the issue of expanded gambling, a road project spending bill and who was at fault for forcing a five-day special session to pass that road bill. Beshear called Williams a peddler of “tired, petty style of partisan bickering.”

“We are going to hold every Republican running for office accountable for David Williams,” Beshear said. Find out what else he says about that at 0:52 of the first video.

Beshear’s remarks to the more than 600 Democrats who packed in the ballroom of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Louisville were among his most enthusiastic in months. Most of Beshear’s best speeches during his more than four years as governor have been red-meat partisan speeches, such as those given at the annual Fancy Farm Picnic in far western Kentucky each August.

“Being a Democrat means protecting tax payer dollars with transparent and ethical leadership and being willing to work with anybody regardless of party labels in order to get things done for the people of the commonwealth of Kentucky,” Beshear said. (0:50 of the next video)

He did not mention Williams at that point in the speech.

The namesake of the dinner, former governor and retired U.S. Sen. Wendell Ford, capped off the evening of speeches with a fiery call to the Democratic activists of his own.

“You’re going to have to make a choice of what the future is going to be — what you want it to be,” he said. “You want it to be something you can be proud of. And you can say to your children: ‘This is your future.’ And the people of this great state want the kind of leadership that doesn’t say ‘No.’”

Here’s Ford’s full speech of less than five minutes:

The Democratic dinner came two weeks after Republicans held their statewide Lincoln Day Dinner, which featured New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Kentucky U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.

(Programming note: Pure Politics will feature more highlights from the dinner as well as interviews with Gov. Beshear and other Democrats on Monday’s show, 7 p.m. EST and 11:30/10:30 Central on Insight’s cn|2. And later this week, Sen. Williams will be in studio for an interview.)


Subscribe to email updates.

Subscribe and get the latest political intelligence delivered to your inbox.