GOP Chair Robertson talks Obama and Ky. House while anchoring sparsely-attended dinner

08/03/2012 11:07 PM

While many of the big name Democrats are skipping the Fancy Farm picnic Saturday, it was the Republican roster that was thin on the Friday night pre-Fancy Farm dinner.

The expected headliners — U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Hopkinsville, and Agriculture Commissioner James Comer — both got delayed and didn’t make it to the Republican chicken dinner in Calvert City. Whitfield’s plane was delayed in Washington and Comer got stuck in Graves County leaving Republican Party Chairman Steve Robertson as the highest ranking GOP figure there.

At the dinner, Robertson outlined the dual themes Republicans are likely repeat throughout the weekend: that President Barack Obama is a liability for Kentucky Democrats and Republican candidates can pick up enough seats to wrest control of the Kentucky state House of Representatives.

Currently, Democrats hold a 58-41 majority but Robertson believes that the anti-Obama sentiment in Kentucky might be good news for Republican House candidates.

“There are going to be a lot of Democratic voters that start of the Republican side of the ballot at the very top,” Robertson said.

West Kentucky is a key battleground for House seats with four open seats.

Robertson said Republicans faced an uphill battle against established Democratic incumbents in those seats in past years. With those seats being open, he said all bets are off. “Any allegiances to someone who held the office before are gone”, concluded Robertson.

Robertson also sought to make hay out of the empty chairs expected on the Democratic side of the stage on Saturday’s picnic in Graves County.

Only one Democrat constitutional officer, Alison Lundergan Grimes, committed to speak at the annual Fancy Farm picnic on Saturday. Robertson says “that he’s not surprised that Democratic office holders in Kentucky would run away from facing up to an opportunity to have to defend Barack Obama.”

Democrat Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo is a confirmed speaker, taking the place of Gov. Steve Beshear.

Beshear is still in Europe on his economic development trip to France and Germany. Attorney General Jack Conway and Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson said they had family events to attend and Auditor Adam Edelen opted not to speak, while Democratic State Treasurer Todd Hollenbach will attend the picnic but declined to take the mic.


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