RGA Chairman/Texas Gov. Rick Perry to headline Ky. GOP dinner in April

02/03/2011 03:02 PM

Texas Gov. Rick Perry

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, will be the keynote speaker at the Kentucky Republican Party’s statewide Lincoln Day Dinner in Louisville on April 9, the state party chairman confirmed.

Kentucky Republican Party Chairman Steve Robertson said Thursday he recently received the commitment from Perry, who was elected RGA chairman in November.

Perry’s appearance is the latest signal of the importance national Republicans are placing on the 2011 governor’s race in which the GOP is hoping to unseat Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear.

But Robertson said he couldn’t speculate whether he took that to mean the RGA would heavily invest in the race.

“I take it as Gov. Rick Perry has confirmed to be the keynote speaker at the April dinner,” Robertson told cn|2 Politics in a telephone interview. “I can’t speak for any decisions they might make financially.”

Four states feature governor’s races this year: Kentucky, Mississippi and Louisiana have regularly scheduled elections in November and West Virginia will have a special election in September to replace Gov. Joe Manchin, who was elected to the U.S. Senate.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican, is heavily favored to win a second term, and Mississippi’s Republican lieutenant governor is the favorite in that state to replace Gov. Haley Barbour.

West Virginia’s race appears to favor the Democrats, whose candidates include more prominent officials than those seeking the GOP nomination now that Republican U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito said she won’t run.

That leaves Kentucky. Three Republicans are vying for the GOP gubernatorial nomination for the right to take on Beshear, who is unopposed in the Democratic primary. Republican state Senate President David Williams, Louisville businessman Phil Moffett and Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw are running in the May 17 Republican primary.

The April 9 statewide Republican dinner is the capstone in the spring Lincoln Day Dinner circuit held by county GOP organizations across the state.

It would mark Perry’s second trip to Kentucky in three years. He attended the 2008 Kentucky Derby and talked to reporters on his way into Churchill Downs about the presidential race that year.

Most of Kentucky’s congressional delegation also is expected to attend the GOP event.

- Ryan Alessi


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