Conservative columnist says election should signal the "end of the era of David Williams"

11/11/2011 08:22 AM

David Williams should heed the message of voters on Tuesday and step down from his leadership position as state Senate president, said conservative columnist John David Dyche.

Dyche, speaking at a media panel at a Kentucky Hospital Association conference in Lexington on Thursday, said the governor’s race ended up being about Williams, the Republican challenger. And the nearly 21-point loss Williams took to Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear was a clear signal that voters don’t like Williams’ approach.

“It has marked the end of the era of David Williams,” Dyche said of Tuesday’s results.

Dyche repeatedly wrote in his columns for the Courier-Journal that Williams had the right message of pushing for tax reform.

Dyche acknowledged that it might not happen this session. Williams’ term as president isn’t scheduled to run out until January 2013.

But Dyche said “now is the time for change.”

Those other Republican senators Dyche mentioned as potential successors to Williams eventually include David Givens, a freshman from Greensburg; Robert Stivers, the GOP floor leader from Manchester; Tom Jensen, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman from London; and Jimmy Higdon of Lebanon.

Dyche’s fellow panelist, former Courier-Journal political reporter Al Cross, asked Dyche whether he was speaking on behalf of Kentucky U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell. Dyche authored McConnell’s biography and has sometimes reflected McConnell’s perspective in some of his columns.

Williams, however, has given no signal that he plans to relinquish power. He said in his Election Night concession speech and again to reporters on Wednesday that he believes he will be a better Senate president after the last year of the gubernatorial campaign.

During last year’s leadership races, Williams drew a brief challenge from his fellow Republican, Sen. Julie Denton of Louisville. But she dropped out after Williams moved up the date for the Republican caucus to vote on nominating the president from December to early November.

Denton told hospital administrators on Thursday she expects an “interesting” session with Williams likely to be in the middle of whatever drama there is to come — for better or for worse.

Later, she was equally coy about what she expected of this upcoming session. And she declined to say whether she thought her fellow Republican senators might get frustrated with Williams and want to replace him as their leader.

- Video and additional reporting by Kenny Colston

About Ryan Alessi

Ryan Alessi joined cn|2 in May 2010 as senior managing editor and host of Pure Politics. He has covered politics for more than 10 years, including 7 years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Follow Ryan on Twitter @cn2Alessi. Ryan can be reached at 502-792-1135 or


  • bob wrote on November 11, 2011 09:45 AM :

    As a registered Republican and a conservative.

    If the Republican Party here in KY doesn’t make some drastic changes to its leadership ASAP, it will send a message that they only concern themselves with themselves and their own political stature and future, not the people of KY.

    I didn’t vote for David Williams or Steve Beshear. I voted for Gatewood Galbraith even though I knew he had no chance of winning. Why? Because things must change and the only real change will come when we start replacing our perceived leaders with people who desire to work for us, not themselves….

    Mitch McConnell’s wealth has grown substantially since the start of the recession. (He’s really working for us.) Somewhere around 35 Million in personal wealth. It’s simply ridiculous for him and other politicians both Republican and Democrat to say they understand our pain and are working for us

  • Earl wrote on November 13, 2011 03:15 PM :

    I agree whole heartely with Bob, the entire political leadership has forgotten why they are actuall in office. It is all about themselves and how to get reelected. David Williams is such an arrogant, egoist that he will never recognize that he is not wanted. If the Republican Party of Kentucky does not get it after this election, for shame. I too am a conservative and voted for Gatewood, not because he is so sharp or represents my beliefs, it was a protest and I think he is more honest than Williams or Beshear. Beshear has not done anything bad, just nothing good. He put King Jerry on his ticket to ensure the Urban vote. Typical politics,pure and simple. He was afraid to run on his record. Willimas has a record and it was millstone on his neck.

  • Mike wrote on November 21, 2011 10:14 AM :

    Yes. Bob has it right; and it is a shame that running for governor while you’re actually holding on to another office is OK in Kentucky. In other words his defeat should have signaled his leaving the legislature just as Beshear’s defeat would have signaled his leaving the governor’s mansion had it occurred.

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