Rep. Bob Damron to run for Jessamine Co. judge-exec. instead of state House

09/10/2013 09:25 AM

Longtime Rep. Bob Damron, a Democrat who represented increasingly conservative Jessamine County and served two stints in House leadership, said Tuesday he won’t seek a 12th term in the House and will run for county judge-executive instead in 2014.

Damron told Pure Politics he had been considering the move and made the decision after learning current Judge-Executive William Neal Cassity would be retiring at the end of his term next year.

“We had actually started looking at last spring. I’ve been in the legislature more than 20 years. It’s time to be at home with family more,” Damron said.

Damron also issued a letter to other media outlets Tuesday:

I hope that my actions in the Kentucky General Assembly have proven me trustworthy, qualified and committed to providing the strong leadership that my constituents expected and deserved from their State Representative. And I am committed to that same level of service through the 2014 Session. In everyone’s life, old doors close and new ones open.

Damron twice served as as Democratic House Caucus Chairman, serving from 2005 until losing re-election to that leadership post in 2007 to then-Rep. Charlie Hoffman of Georgetown. Damron won the post back in 2009 when Greg Stumbo became speaker. But Damron lost the leadership race in 2011 to Rep. Sannie Overly, D-Paris, who became the first woman to serve in the House majority leadership team.

For much of the last decade, Republicans targeted Damron’s 39th District. But Damron’s tireless campaigning and substantial fundraising support helped him win each time.

Damron said neither the current scandal over sexual harassment allegations facing fellow Democratic Rep. John Arnold nor the redistricting map the General Assembly passed last month had anything to do with his decision to leave the General Assembly after 2014. He said he’s hopeful that the newly-drawn 39th District that includes Nicholasville and the eastern half of the county plus five precincts in southern Fayette County could be won by another Jessamine County Democrat, but declined to suggest any names.

Damron often proved himself to be one of the more conservative Democrats, particularly on gun rights issues. In 2004, he was among a small group of Democrats who stood with Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher to back his tax modernization proposal and often pushed for a back-to-school tax holiday.

He also was one of the most prolific sponsor of bills over the last decade, and was successful at getting many of them passed.

“During the past 21 years, I have been the primary sponsor of 123 pieces of legislation to become law. Working with both Democrats and Republicans, I have been successful in gaining approval of hundreds of millions of dollars for our district in state grants for new water and sewer lines, parks, community develop projects, and roads and bridges in our district,” Damron said.

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