The Chatter: Changing how running mates are picked, 18-year-old mayors and Yarmuth on Eric Holder

12/12/2011 10:02 PM

After serving as a running mate, state Rep. Mike Harmon wants to change the way they’re selected in the future.

Harmon, a Republican from Danville, ran as the lieutenant governor candidate with Phil Moffett in this year’s GOP primary for governor. And he pre-filed a bill that would allow candidates for governor to run solo through the primary, then pick a slate-mate.

In Kentucky, each gubernatorial candidate must pick their lieutenant governor candidate when they file to run — unlike presidential candidates who don’t have to name a sidekick until after they lock up the nomination.

Moffett and Harmon garnered solid tea party support especially in Central Kentucky but lost the May GOP primary by 10 points after being outspent 10-to-1 by Senate President David Williams and Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer.

It was a strong enough showing that some Republicans said if the rules were different, Williams could have mended fences by selecting Phil Moffett as his running mate.

Harmon’s proposal would allow each party’s nominee to select a running mate by the fourth Tuesday after the primary election. The nominee would have file a name with Secretary of State’s office by 4 p.m. that day.

If the nominee missed the deadline, the respective party would have an extra week to file a name with the Secretary of State.

Changing the constitution to limit KY’s debt

Harmon also has pre-filed a constitutional amendment regarding the state’s debt and spending for the 2012 session.

The amendment, which would have to be approved by three-fifths of each legislative chamber and ratified by a majority of voters, calls for capping state spending at 5 percent above it’s annual revenue.

Revenue this year is expected to be nearly $8.9 billion. That would mean the total bonded debt Kentucky could incur would be $445 million.

The governor could declare an exception to the cap in times of emergency. But only if 80 percent of each legislative chamber voted to allow an exception.

A lottery ticket and the oath of office

If an 18-year-old can vote and buy lottery tickets, why not run city hall as well?

Another bill pre-filed recently would lower the age limit on being elected to a local legislative or executive office to 18 years old.

The bill, filed by state Rep. Adam Koenig, a Republican from Erlanger, would lower the statutory age to serve as a local council or commission member to 18 from 21. And for mayors, the minimum age would be 18 instead of 25.

Yarmuth doesn’t think Holder should resign

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, a Louisville Democrat, told Pure Politics he doesn’t think U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder should resign amid fallout over Operation Fast and Furious, a failed gunrunning sting operation.

But the congressman did say serious questions remained about the operation.

Republican U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie of Bowling Green called for Holder’s resignation last week. Kentucky’s senior U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell said Holder may have misled Congress but stopped short of calling for his resignation during an appearance on Fox News Sunday this weekend.

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