Snippets of some snippiness at GOP gubernatorial debate

04/21/2011 04:45 PM

While Senate President David Williams described himself as the front-runner in the GOP primary, he let not slight — however minor — go by unchallenged in Wednesday night’s debate in Bowling Green.

About 10 minutes in the middle of the one-hour debate was marked by some feisty back-and-forth between Williams and fellow GOP primary candidate Phil Moffett, a Louisville businessman.

“Mr. Moffett’s approach is a simplistic approach that will not work,” he said at one point of Moffett’s plan to replace Kentucky’s tax structure with a single “consumption tax.”

Moffett asked to break the format to respond “to being called simplistic.”

Williams objected. “I didn’t call anyone simplistic, and I don’t think he should be able to respond to that.”

Then he had one more jab for Moffett after that response:

The third candidate in the primary, Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw, didn’t attend the debate so that she could be with her daughter who was giving birth to twins in Louisville.

Moffett, meanwhile, challenged Williams over his support in 2005 for legislation called House Bill 299 that would allow legislators to be eligible for higher pension payments if they switched jobs to a higher-paying government position.

Moffett also criticized “career politicians” and, specifically, legislators such as Williams for voting for more debt to cover projects.

That set Williams up to ask Moffett about his campaign finances. Moffett’s report on Wednesday initially showed a negative balance of $513.84.

Moffett blamed the campaign finance report on a glitch by the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance.

But Sarah Jackson, executive director of the registry, said in an interview Thursday that auditors and technical specialists at the registry determined Wednesday night that the problem was on the Moffett campaign’s end.

Moffett did file an amended report showing he actually has $11,361 on hand.

- Ryan Alessi

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