Former U.S. Senate candidate Sellus Wilder now acting as campaign manager for Nancy Jo Kemper

06/22/2016 05:10 PM

Sellus Wilder, who ran in a crowded Democratic primary campaign for U.S. Senate this year, has joined forces with 6th Congressional District candidate Nancy Jo Kemper.

Wilder will transition from candidate to campaign manager in an attempt to defeat incumbent U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington, who has held the seat since 2013.

Describing the conversations to help Kemper take on Barr, Wilder called it an “easy decision” that came about “organically.” Wilder said the two candidates talked during the primary election at events and developed a mutual respect.

“Her and I are pretty aligned in terms of basic philosophy,” Wilder said in a phone interview. “I really appreciate that she is authentic and honest and willing to take on discussions that aren’t always easy to have in Kentucky.”

One of those honest discussions that Kemper is willing to have is on guns, Wilder said. As the politicians seem divided on the solution to mass shootings and growing acts of violence, Wilder said his candidate wants to get back to civil discussions and the art of compromise.

While other campaigns may seek the easy political points, Wilder said Kemper will eschew the norms and “focus more on offering solutions to those problems.” Wilder continued his thought, saying that the campaign wouldn’t attempt to make their Republican challenger “look bad.” In some cases, he said “we’re just going to ignore him.”

“He doesn’t really stick his neck out on a lot of things, so he really has a really soft record in that regard,” he said.

Kemper will be getting policy advice from Wilder on the campaign trail.

“Initially the thought was that I could really bring something to the table in terms of helping her draft and refine her message and in terms of just doing policy research and help her refine her platform,” he said. “We’re really on the same page on a lot of things.”


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