In final hours, GOP figures like Rep. Carney and Hilda Legg picking sides in 16th Senate Distict

05/19/2014 02:30 PM

The phones are ringing off the hook in the homes of Republican voters in Adair County as GOP surrogates make one last pitch for their candidates in the 16th state Senate District.

Republican Rep. Bam Carney of Campbellsville had been helping challenger Max Wise behinds the scenes but publicly endorsed Wise on Monday, including with a robocall in Adair and Taylor counties.

“I’ve known him for years and can personally attest to his character and conservative principles,” Carney says in the recorded call before listing some of those principles, such as supporting the 2nd Amendment and opposing the Affordable Care Act and casino gambling. “I know Max Wise, and I am asking you to join me in voting for him because he is exactly the kind of conservative leader we need in Frankfort.”

Meanwhile, Hilda Legg, the former GOP candidate for secretary of state and U.S. Department of Agriculture administrator, recorded a robocall for Sen. Sara Beth Gregory in Adair County. Legg grew up in Adair County a mile from the Adair-Taylor line.

Legg said she likes and respects Wise but just wished he wasn’t running against Gregory. She said Gregory asked her to support her last summer before lawmakers redrew the districts and doesn’t believe there’s any reason to vote out Gregory — especially because Gregory and Wise have similar stances on the issues.

“We need to continue to elect competent, strong, conservative women,” Legg said in a phone interview. “When you have someone who has distinguished service and has proven herself, the question becomes why throw them out? Why change when the opponent doesn’t seem to be that far away on any of the issues?”

Adair is one of the key battle grounds between Wise and Gregory of Monticello. The two have been locked in a tough primary fight in the seven-county district that covers Taylor County, where Wise is from, Adair and Russell counties that also are new to the 16th District after last year’s redrawing of the legislative lines, and Clinton, Cumberland, McCreary and Wayne counties, which carry over from the former district. That district was represented by former Senate President David Williams before he became judge and Gregory won the special election in December 2012.

Gregory also enlisted former state Sen. Vernie McGaha of Russell Springs to record a call for her as well.

The winner of Tuesday’s primary essentially becomes the next senator because no Democrat filed.

Legg said recording a call weighing in on this primary was “not something I relish doing.”

“But there are times when you need to take a stand,” she said before expressing a sentiment shared by many Republicans in that district. “My choice would have been not to have had to pick a side in the first place.”


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