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 is now pursuing an advanced degree in non-fiction writing from Murray State University and is a regular contributor to Pure Politics. Ryan has covered politics for more than 14 years, including seven years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Ryan can be reached at purepolitics@twcable.com or @mycn2 on Twitter.

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