Lally hopes for national jump-start to 3rd District race

06/07/2010 08:13 AM

Todd Lally, Republican candidate for the 3rd congressional district

LOUISVILLE — Republican Todd Lally is hoping for a national injection of campaign donations to give him some momentum in his bid to unseat U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, a Democrat running for his third term in the 3rd District that covers Louisville.

Lally told cn|2 Politics that his campaign is in “major fund-raising mode” and expects to be on a conference call this week with U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, a Texas Republican who is in charge of the National Republican Congressional Committee. The NRCC is charged with helping GOP congressional candidates.

“They’re going to take a look at this and look at the fund-raising I’ve done personally,” Lally said. “They’re going to see if Yarmuth is in a position to be beat — of course we think he is — and then they’ll decide on whether or not to get in this race.”

But Lally must play catch-up financially. Yarmuth entered May with more than a half-million dollars in the bank, according to his most recent Federal Election Report. Lally, at that point, had just $25,811 heading into the final three weeks of the primary after raising just over $108,000.

Lally also said he expects to tap the support of the tea party movement, which was active in Louisville during the spring but didn’t formally pick sides in the four-way Republican primary for Congress.

“I’m not the Tea Party candidate people think I am,” Lally said. “They didn’t endorse in the primary … but I expect more of a relationship with them in the future.”

Lally emerged with a solid win — more than 51 percent of the vote — in the primary that featured four political newcomers. At rallies and campaign events, each of the four tried to establish themselves as the conservative candidate best in position to challenge Yarmuth.

Lally, in a phone interview on Friday, said he plans to immediately highlight some of his key differences with Yarmuth.

For instance, Lally, who serves as a lieutenant colonel in the Kentucky National Guard, said he disagreed with Yarmuth’s move last week to vote to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law.

“This is not about gays in the military,” Lally said. “All they’re being asked to do is to leave their behavior quiet. So in that aspect, I would have voted no (to repeal). It’s been effective so far, with peace in the ranks and with high morale.

“So far, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has been used as a way to get out of the military. People know it’s the quickest way to get out of the military. At the same time, what I don’t want to happen (under the policy) is for people to be outed by a third party, which has happened recently,” Lally said.

Yarmuth’s campaign did not return calls for comment Friday.

—Kenny Colston

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