Grayson handicaps primary races, says Williams in position to look ahead to Beshear

01/26/2011 07:29 PM

The three-way Republican primary for governor starts out similar to the 2003 race with Senate President David Williams playing the role of front-runner against two candidates who will have fund-raising challenges, said Republican Trey Grayson.

Grayson, who is stepping down as Secretary of State at the end of the week to take a job at Harvard, offered his assessment of the primaries on Pure Politics Wednesday. Tuesday was the filing deadline for Republican and Democrats to run in this spring’s primaries for statewide office.

And Grayson said Williams is in a similar position to then-Congressman Ernie Fletcher in 2003. Fletcher cruised to the GOP nomination over former Jefferson County Judge-Exeuctive Rebecca Jackson and then-state Rep. Steve Nunn of Glasgow. Former state Sen. Virgil Moore ran a limited campaign and finished a distant fourth.

Williams, who has raised $750,000 including $100,000 of his own money, faces Louisville businessman Phil Moffett and Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw.

While Grayson said both of them are “credible candidates,” they are likely to face fundraising challenges. Moffett already has struggled to bring in the kind of money he had hoped for, collecting a little more than $50,000 including a $30,000 loan from himself.

In comparison, Nunn raised $300,000 in the 2003 campaign while Jackson raised $760,000 including $250,000 from her running mate, Robbie Rudolph.

Grayson also said Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear was the big winner on filing deadline day for not drawing an opponent in the May 17 primary.

And he gave his take on the fall match-up for attorney general between Democratic incumbent Jack Conway and Republican Todd P’Pool, the Hopkins County Attorney. But you’ll have to watch to see how he handicaps that one:

Both parties will have primaries in the race to take over Grayson’s job as Secretary of State for the next four years.

Grayson gave his take on the Democratic contest between soon-to-be former Bowling Green Mayor Elaine Walker, whom Beshear appointed to serve out the last 11 months of Grayson’s term, and Alison Lundergan Grimes, a Lexington lawyer.

On the Republican side, Hilda Legg — former director of the Center for Rural Development in Somerset — faces Bill Johnson, who ran against Grayson and Rand Paul in last year’s 2010 GOP primary for U.S. Senate. Johnson hails from Todd County.

In the Republican primary for state auditor, Grayson said state Rep. Addia Wuchner of Florence starts with an advantage in early support over John Kemper, a Lexington developer who ran unsuccessfully in 2010 for the Republican nomination for Congress in the 6th District.

- Ryan Alessi

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