Senate Democrats go after Williams for running for governor and Senate president

09/24/2010 08:01 AM

The state Senate Democratic caucus is using Republican Senate President David Williams’ political ambitions to stir up campaign donations.

An invitation to an Oct. 6 fundraiser for the Senate Democrats declares that they’re seeking to take control of the chamber from Williams, who has served as Senate President for a decade and announced earlier this month that he’s running for the Republican nomination for governor. And the Democrats’ mailer, which hit homes starting Thursday, hints that some Republicans agree with them.

“Along with our Republican Senate colleagues, we continue to advance the efforts of all Kentuckians to free themselves from the domination of Senate President David Williams and his quest to control the state Senate while running for governor of the commonwealth.”

This is the first time the Democrats have tried this specific approach against Williams as a fundraising tool, although Williams has been a favorite target of Democratic state legislative candidates in the past.

The brochure is signed by Julian Carroll, the former governor and current senator who is serving as coordinator of the state Senate campaign. The invitation is for an Oct. 6 fundraiser in Frankfort hosted by Ron and Linda Turner, who own a contracting company.  Click here and here to read both sides of the mailer.

Among the top-ranking Democrats scheduled to attend are Gov. Steve Beshear, Beshear’s 2011 running mate Jerry Abramson, Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo, U.S. Senate nominee and state Attorney General Jack Conway and U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler of Versailles.

Control of the chamber is at stake in the election. “In the balance, three Senate seats,” the mailer says.

Republicans have 20 seats plus independent Sen. Bob Leeper of Paducah, who votes consistently with them. Democrats have 17 seats.

There are 15 contested seats of which as many as a dozen could prove to be competitive. But Democrats would have to hold their seats — including one opened by retiring Senate Democratic leader Ed Worley in Madison, Rockcastle and Lincoln counties. And they’d have to pick up at least two Republican-held seats, which has been difficult for the Democrats during recent general elections.

Williams is seeking re-election as Senate president in this winter’s legislative leadership elections. This summer, Republican Sen. Julie Denton of Louisville announced she would challenge Williams for the top position in the chamber.

On Sept. 1, Williams announced he would run for governor next year with Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer as his running mate.

He has said being Senate president and a candidate for governor are “not mutually exclusive.”

- Ryan Alessi


Subscribe to email updates.

Subscribe and get the latest political intelligence delivered to your inbox.