Jockeying begins for open 13th Senate seat to replace Stein

10/14/2013 05:48 PM

UPDATED: As the ink dries on Judge Kathy Stein’s appointment to Fayette County Family Court judgeship, candidates are starting to emerge for their parties nomination to the 13th state Senate seat.

Minutes after appointing Stein to the bench, Gov. Steve Beshear on Monday called a special election for Dec. 10 to replace Stein. And names of potential nominees began surfacing for the 13th District, which covers downtown Lexington and favors Democrats

Betsy Farley, the Fayette County Democratic Party chairwoman, told Pure Politics that she expects the party will meet sometime this week to name a candidate.

Among the Democrats who say they’re interested are Democratic activist and former 88th House District candidate Reginald Thomas .

Thomas, a lawyer, made a race of the GOP-held 88th House seat by knocking on doors in every precinct and out raising his Republican counterpart. He ultimately lost the open-seat race to Republican Robert Benvenuti.

Thomas promised to bring that same work ethic to this campaign, if chosen by the Democrats.

Former seven-term city councilman Richard Moloney also confirmed his interest in the seat. Moloney told Pure Politics that he knows the challenges Stein was dealing with in the district as a councilman.

Also interested in the nomination for the Democrats is Mike Moynahan, an Army Captain in the National Guard and Energy Programs Director with the non-profit Community Action Kentucky . He also sits on the 5 person nominating committee to replace Stein as the
88th Legislative District Chair for the Democratic Party.

Moynahan is a veteran of the Iraq war where he served as an Army Ranger, and he told Pure Politics that he feels he can have a “direct impact” by serving in the Senate.

“I’ll bring a unique leadership skill set to the race,” Moynahan said.

In addition to Thomas, Moynahan and Moloney, Lexington-Fayette Urban County Councilman Chris Ford has been mentioned as a possible candidate.

On the Republican side, Carol Rogers, who chairs the Fayette County Republican Party, said several candidates have expressed an interest. She said she wasn’t sure when the party would make its nomination but it would be “soon.”

At-Large Lexington Council member and Attorney Chuck Ellinger II expressed an interest in the Republican nomination for the Senate seat according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. Ellinger did not immediately return a call to Pure Politics.

One of the Democrats who has taken his name out of the running is 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 told Pure Politics that he was not interested in running for office at this time.

“The time being I’m focused on my law practice,” Gross said in a phone interview.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or



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