Jensen says she won't change course from congressional to state Senate race

08/26/2013 11:37 AM

Democratic congressional candidate Elisabeth Jensen confirmed that she had conversations with Democratic leaders in Fayette County about potentially changing course to run for state Senate if the Lexington seat opens up.

Sen. Kathy Stein, D-Lexington, has expressed interest in an open Fayette Circuit judgeship. If Gov. Steve Beshear appoints Stein to that judgeship, that would create a vacancy in the 13th state Senate district. That has touched off behind-the-scenes lobbying among Democratic activists in the county.

But Jensen, an education advocate who is among three Democrats in the 6th Congressional District race, told Pure Politics last week she plans to remain in the Democratic primary, which includes businessman Joe Palumbo and lawyer Michael Coblenz.

She said after making calls to key Democrats, she got the impression someone else has the inside track.

But Betsy Farley, the Fayette County Party chairwoman, denied that any selection had been made.

“No one has been picked already. I think it’s too early,” Farley said.

She said she was glad Jensen “is staying where she is” in the congressional race because she said it will be good to have a competitive Democratic primary.

As for the Senate seat, much of the focus is on Branden Gross, a real estate and finance lawyer for the Lexington office of Morgan and Pottinger. Gross also serves as vice chairman of the Fayette County Democratic Party and legislative district chairman of the 75th House District, which is in the center of the 13th state Senate District.

Gross said as a Lexington native, he would be honored at the chance to serve the community in the state Senate.

“I have been encouraged to look at a possible race,” Gross said.

In addition to Gross, Lexington-Fayette Urban County Councilman Chris Ford, Lexington chief administrative officer and former councilman Richard Moloney, and Democratic activist and former 88th House District candidate Reginald Thomas have been mentioned as possible candidates.

Stein said she won’t be picking sides. Here’s what she said about her interest in the judgeship.

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