Freshman Senator and challenger begin dash for new 16th district in marquee primary race

01/17/2014 10:26 AM

With six business days left for candidates to file for the May 20 primary elections, the GOP primary for the newly-drawn 16th state Senate in southern Kentucky is an early favorite for the race to watch.

Sen. Sara Beth Gregory, R-Monticello, is running for her first full four-year term in the 16th Senate district after winning a special election in December 2012 to replace former Senate President David Williams, who became a judge. Gregory has been tagged as a rising star in the Republican Party since first winning a state House seat in 2010.

She will face Max Wise, a former FBI analyst and now a professor at Campbellsville University.

Both have a lot of introductions to make to voters. Wise is a first time candidate whose base is Taylor County. So his challenge is to reach out to voters in the other six counties. And Gregory has never represented Taylor, Russell and Adair counties, which were added the redistricting process last August.

Plus, campaign finance reports indicate both started 2014 with about the same amount in their accounts. Gregory had $106,000 in her campaign account at the end of November. Wise raised more than $112,000 in time for his report at the end of December.

Wise made his candidacy official this week. He filed his candidacy papers Tuesday with his wife, Heather, and four children who are all named after Kentucky counties: Grayson, 10, Jackson, 9, Carter, who is 6 1/2 and McLean, who turned 3 Friday.

So the Pure Politics team interviewed Wise and Gregory to see how close — or far apart — they start on some of the key issues facing lawmakers this session, including state spending, implementation of the Affordable Care Act, education and crime and punishment issues:


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