Independent candidate John-Mark Hack's entrance into 56th Dist. special election adds to intrigue

05/07/2013 04:47 PM

The race to fill the vacant House seat of Rep. Carl Rollins, D-Midway, became more unpredictable with the entrance of independent candidate John-Mark Hack on the filing deadline Tuesday.

Hack is a Woodford County resident who is partner with Marksbury Farm Market. He also works with local food associations on best practices and policy in the local food and agriculture movement. And Hack has been a part of the agricultural scene since serving as director of agriculture policy for Democratic Gov. Paul Patton’s administration starting in 1998.

Hack’s emergence as a candidate less than an hour before the 4 p.m. candidate filing deadline for the June 25 special election, adds a wildcard to the race. He joins Democratic nominee James Kay, a 30-year old attorney, and Republican Lyen Crews, a 51-year-old Midway College administrator.

Hack told Pure Politics in a telephone interview he was motivated to jump in the race to break up the two-party system.

“The key issue is the broken dysfunctional two party system which has proved incapable at solving problems,” Hack said.

Hack said he wanted to enter the race as a “problem solving” candidate that is “free of the party machinery.” Being free of the two-party system Hack says will allow him to be transparent in his views and honest on where he stands.

Hack is advocating for comprehensive reform on the state’s tax code, saying the “antiquated tax system has been kicked down the road by both political parties.” His views on taxes fit with the majority of the House members who wanted to see tax reforms taken up as a whole rather than a piece mail approach.

As a spokesperson for ‘Say No to Casinos’ and now a member of the ‘Stop Predatory Gambling,’ Hack said he is not concerned with how his views of gambling will play in the central Kentucky race.

“That’s up to the people of the district,” Hack said.

Outgoing lawmaker Rep. Carl Rollins weighed in on Monday about the possibility of Hack running in the race, and said his position on gambling “could hurt him.”

While Democrat James Kay kicked off his campaign with a $20,000 boost at an event hosted by the Kentucky Democratic Party Headquarters, Hack said he knows he will be out raised.

His fundraising goal for the special election is $60,000, but he said he knows other parties will pour much more than that behind their candidates.

Crews, meanwhile, has not responded to four messages over the last several days, including two messages left on his cell phone and two left Tuesday with his secretary at Midway College.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm joined cn|2 in December 2011 as a reporter for Pure Politics. Throughout his career, Nick has covered several big political stories up close, including interviewing President Barack Obama on the campaign trail back in 2008. Nick says he loves being at the forefront of Kentucky politics and working with the brightest journalists in the commonwealth. Follow Nick on Twitter @Nick_Storm. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or



  • viewer wrote on May 07, 2013 05:33 PM :

    I think that it is great that John-Mark has entered the race. I would like to see more independent people who are not controlled by democrats or republicans enter more races across the state. I am not endorsing John-Mark, but I think that if you look at his career you will see that he is a man of principle and is controlled by noone; which I really respect. He is a man of proven integrity.

    I would like to see these three gentlemen come on Pure Politics and have a debate with Ryan as the moderator. This reduces the amount of money that has to be raised, and any time money is raised it leaves someone thinking they are owed for making a donation. This house seat is in one of the most informed voter precincts in the state, and it is going to be hard to fool those who vote in this election. All three of you candidates come on Pure Politics for an hour debate, and let’s let the public see for themselves what you three are all about.

    I thought that Carl Rollins was an excellent Representative for the state. I thought he was pretty much down the middle, but all three of these candidates have something positive about them. The whole state can learn something here because all three are quality candidates, in my opinion. Good luck to all three, and I hope your campaigns work out a deal to come on Pure Politics and have a debate. Thanks. The viewer.

  • Jerry wrote on May 07, 2013 10:04 PM :

    Could the Democrats be doubling down with Hack? You know he will caucus with the Dems if he wins. Stumbo is very concerned about this race as a bellweather for next year. Maybe they are not sure Kay can beat Crews on his own?

  • Bruce Layne wrote on May 08, 2013 10:04 AM :

    I too would like to see Ryan moderate a three way debate on cn|2 Pure Politics. That’s by far the best way for voters to compare the candidates.

    “Hack told Pure Politics in a telephone interview he was motivated to jump in the race to break up the two-party system.” I certainly agree with that sentiment!

  • sam pierce wrote on May 09, 2013 05:33 PM :

    Stumbo probably got this Hack to enter the race to take votes away from Lyen Crews so Stumbo’s Democrat hack (Kay) could have a chance to win. The only way Democrats can win is to divide and conquer. Anti-Stumbo voters need to be united behind Crews, especially if Jerry is correct in saying that Hack would caucus with Stumbo and the Democrats if elected. Why does John-Mark Hack have his first and middle names hyphenated? I thought only Frenchmen did that. Oh, well, Versailles is the county seat of Woodford County, even though it is not pronounced the way the French pronounce it. Sounds like this special election is in France where they have many political parties.

  • Angela Lawson wrote on May 18, 2013 11:49 PM :

    If you have questions for John-Mark Hack or would like to to find out more about him, and what he stands for, you can check out his Facebook page or follow him on twitter @jmhack56thKY

  • Lisa Thomas wrote on June 03, 2013 12:27 PM :

    I do know that John-Mark has asked repeatedly to schedule a debate but neither of the other candidates have responded to the request. John-Mark has a 10-Point Platform and neither of the other candidates do. In fact they’re both so vague on any issue there’s no way to determine where they stand. A retired employees facebook group has requested the candidates’ positions on pensions with only John-Mark responding. At least John-Mark is forthcoming on where he stands on the issues! How refreshing!

    John Mark’s fb page is

  • Realstory wrote on June 12, 2013 03:35 PM :

    John-Mark Hack is just that, a two faced, backstabbing lying hack.
    This mean tempered malcontent can’t get along with his own party.

    He is in the race for his own self-serving self aggrandizing agenda.

    He is a dishonest twofaced lying scumbag.

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