Williams and Thayer on opposite GOP tickets in '11?

05/25/2010 09:40 PM

(UPDATED 11:48 a.m.) Two Republican state senators could find themselves on opposite sides of the 2011 Republican gubernatorial primary.

Sen. Damon Thayer

The Lexington Herald-Leader broke the story Tuesday night that state Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, is considering running on a ticket with Bill Johnson, a Todd County businessman who ran in this spring’s Republican primary for U.S. Senate before dropping out in March. Johnson told the newspaper he hopes to decide by June or July.

If Thayer joins up with Johnson, he could be going up against a slate that includes Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, who has long been mentioned as a possible candidate for governor. The Herald-Leader story, in fact, said Thayer and Johnson both named Williams — along with Agriculture Commissioner and former University of Kentucky basketball player Richie Farmer and Stanford banker Jess Correll as formidable Republican opponents.

UPDATED: But Thayer said Wednesday that he doubted he would go up against a Williams or Farmer ticket.

“It is highly likely that I will not be on a ticket if President Williams or Commissioner Farmer are also on a ticket,” Thayer said.

Williams hasn’t announced any intentions. But he’s been talking in loftier terms lately about his role, the role of the governor and what he considers the best interest of Kentucky.

For instance, when asked Monday if he and other Republican Senators found themselves in the same corner as Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear on budget and road construction issues, he said: “We hope that we’re in the people’s corner.”

Senate President David Williams

“The bottom line of it is that a legislature has its proper role, and one of the proper roles is to give a budget document to a governor that will allow him to succeed. We can’t guarantee that he’ll succeed,” Williams said. “If you give the governor a budget document, which dooms him to failure, you’re doing a disservice to the public and you’re not doing your constitutionally-required obligation.”

- Ryan Alessi

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