The Chatter: Stumbo defends Gooch, Legg gets endorsements, Rothenburger's ad and more

05/05/2011 09:34 AM

Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo said he would oppose taking any action against Democratic state Rep. Jim Gooch for supporting a Republican in the 2011 general election, Stumbo told Pure Politics this week.

Gooch, a Democrat from Providence, donated $200 to Republican candidate Todd P’Pool at a Madisonville fundraiser last week.

P’Pool is challenging current Attorney General Jack Conway, a Democrat, in the 2011 fall elections.

In a statement, Stumbo said there are no plans for action against Gooch, who is chairman of the House Natural Resources and Environment Committee.

“Rep. Gooch can spend money he earned in any legal manner he sees fit,” Stumbo said. “Two, we don’t have any reason to question his political statements; those are his beliefs. Three, we have no plans to discipline him, and I won’t support any effort to discipline him. He has the right to free speech. All in all, I support Jack where he is, and I support Jim where he is.”

Legg picks up endorsement from former Jefferson Co. Judge-Executive Jackson

Republican Hilda Legg received an endorsement from former Jefferson County Judge-Executive Rebecca Jackson in her primary race for Secretary of State, her campaign announced.

Jackson was the last Republican to hold a major office in Louisville and ran for the GOP nomination for governor in 2003. She previously served as Jefferson County Clerk.

In a statement, Jackson praised Legg’s “strong work ethic and integrity.”

“This is a position that is critical to ensuring the integrity of our election and responsible for overseeing business filings,” Jackson said. “As a former Jefferson County Clerk, I fully understand how important the role of Secretary of State is and I have complete confidence that Hilda will bring her strong work ethic and integrity to work every day on behalf of the citizens of our great Commonwealth.”

Legg and businessman Bill Johnson are vying for the Republican nomination for Secretary of State.

Rothenburger running radio ads attacking EPA

Shelby County Judge-Executive Rob Rothenburger has launched his first radio ad in his run for the Republican nomination for agriculture commissioner. And his ad takes aim at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In his first one minute ad, Rothenburger mentions his background as judge-executive and farmer. And a narrator says Rothenburger will “be a strong advocate for our farms and families, opposing unnecessary EPA regulations.”

The ad started running Monday in Louisville and Lexington market and will run until the May 17 primary, Stacie Rockaway, a spokeswoman for Rothenburger’s campaign, told Pure Politics.

Rothenburger is running against state Rep. James Comer for the GOP nomination for agriculture commissioner.

Rockaway said the campaign plans to expand the ad to other markets by May 9. And she noted that Rothenburger went on air before his opponent, Comer, did. Comer released two radio ads yesterday.

You can listen to the ad below:

Republican Party chairman wants answers about Jack Conway’s brother

The chairman of the Republican Party of Kentucky, Steve Robertson, wants to ask Attorney General Jack Conway some questions regarding Conway’s brother, Matt.

The Courier-Journal reported Wednesday that Matt Conway, an assistant county attorney, abruptly resigned his post. Previously, Matt Conway was part of a series of investigations for drug use, but was tipped off my law enforcement that he was under investigation. And there has been some question in the role that Jack Conway played in his brother’s investigations.

Previously, Jack Conway has said that the only role he played in his brother’s investigations was advising his brother Matt Conway to seek legal counsel. He addressed questions about that during an appearance on Pure Politics in January.

But Robertson wants Jack Conway to answer why his brother immediately resigned his post last week and wants him to again explain what role he played in his brother’s investigations.

Rep. Clark files complaint against Brian Simpson, JCTA for coordination

State Rep. Larry Clark has filed a complaint with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance stating that his 2010 opponent, Brian Simpson, coordinated with three special interest groups during last year’s election.

According to a news release sent out by Clark, he claims Simpson, the Jefferson County Teachers Association, the Better Schools Kentucky Political Action Committee and the Truth from American Workers 527 illegally coordinated on a TV ad. Clark also claims the groups failed to report paying people to work polling places in support of Simpson.

In the release, Clark said violations of campaign finance are “a crime against our democracy.”

“I do not believe that the majority of teachers in Jefferson County want to see their hard-earned dollars being used for negative smear campaigns that do not result in improvements for their schools,” Clark said in a statement.

Simpson, who lost last fall to Clark for the 46th House District in southern Louisville, has already said he plans to challenge Clark again in 2012.

*UPDATE: * Reached by phone, Simpson’s campaign manager, Sarah Reidy, said Clark’s allegations were false.

“There was no collusion,” Reidy told Pure Politics. “I don’t know why Clark is getting upset because he won.”

-Reporting by Kenny Colston

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