State Senator Tim Shaughnessy announces he won't seek re-election in 2012

11/10/2011 02:38 PM

The number of state senators leaving office doubled today with the announcement from state Sen. Tim Shaughnessy that he would not seek re-election in 2012.

In a phone interview, Shaughnessy said he is deciding not to seek re-election because after more than two decades as a senator, his life is at a “crossroads” where he can explore other opportunities that “require my full attention.”

Some of those opportunities may be political, Shaughnessy said, but said he has no “master plan” about his political future.

‘I’m not trying to be coy,” Shaughnessy said, while not ruling out future runs for political office. “I enjoy public service.”

Shaughnessy is a Louisville Democrat who was first elected to the Senate in 1989. He is often vocal on the Senate floor, despite being in the minority since 2000. And the senator said redistricting had nothing to do with his decision.

Shaughnessy once helped draw the lines as chairman of the State Government Committee and that he’s been on the other side of the pen in 2000. Shaughnessy said he could have won re-election again, no matter where the redistricting pen took him.

“I feel very confident in my ability to connect with voters,” Shaughnessy said. “But if I wanted to run again, I would have won.”

Shaughnessy was also the first to shed light on mismanagement at Passport Health Service, which led to a scathing audit by Auditor Crit Luallen and a reorganization of the group’s board.

The Democrat is joined by State Sen. Jack Westwood, a Republican from Crescent Spring, as the other senator who has announced he wouldn’t seek re-election in 2012.

Former Republican state Rep. Bob Heleringer, who ran against Shaughnessy but lost in 2008, said he would run for the 19th District if the legislators redraw it to be “more competitive.”

“Yes, I’ll be very interested,” Heleringer said. He said he’ll wait to see whether the 19th District sheds some of the more Democratic precincts from the Highlands to other adjacent districts already represented by Democratic Senators Denise Harper Angel or Gerald Neal.

In a tweet to news organizations, Shawn Reilly, a member of the local Democratic Party in Louisville and co-founder of an anti-tolling group, said he is considering running to replace Shaughnessy.

Shaughnessy said who his replacement is will depend on how his 19th State Senate District is drawn in the new maps, but said Louisville has plenty of Democrats who would be good for the job.

“Right now, what I’m focusing on is the 2012 session,” he said.

-Reporting by Kenny Colston with additional reporting by Ryan Alessi


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