Senate budget chairman tells Paducah station he won't run for re-election

10/01/2013 10:46 AM

Sen. Bob Leeper, the state’s lone independent legislator and the chairman of the Senate budget committee, told a western Kentucky radio station that he won’t run again in 2014.

He told West Kentucky Star radio host Greg Dunker of his plans in response to a question about how the Affordable Care Act might affect legislative races next year.

“One thing I’ll tell you Greg, it won’t affect mine next year, because I’m not running for re-election,” Leeper said.

Leeper has faced tough re-election fights in the Paducah-based 2nd Senate District over the last several terms, particularly after switching parties. First elected as a Democrat in 1990, Leeper switched to a Republican in 1999 and then to an independent in 2005 after a disagreement with then-GOP Senate President David Williams.

Leeper continued to caucus with the Republicans and became chairman of the Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee after the retirement of Sen. Charlie Borders in 2009.

In his last two elections, Leeper survived in competitive races against two other candidates.

Leeper hinted last fall that this could be his last term when he ran for the open Senate presidency after Williams’ stepped down to become a judge. He said after spending more than 20 years in the Senate, he wanted to try for the top spot and bring a level of independence to the job. He said he wasn’t worried about any political consequences if he lost the leadership election. Sen. Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, won that race and retained Leeper as budget chairman. Here’s his interview with Leeper from last November:

Leeper joins Republicans Katie Stine — who represented Northern Kentucky in the General Assembly since 1995 — and Julie Denton, who has represented a Louisville district in the Senate since 1995 — as incumbent senators not seeking re-election in 2014.


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