Williams makes pitch as 'front-runner,' Moffett and Holsclaw take subtle jabs as primary gets going

01/31/2011 04:16 PM

(WITH VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS) PADUCAH — Senate President David Williams declared himself as the front-runner in the GOP primary for governor with the fundraising and legislative record to be “the most electable” Republican against Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear this fall.

Williams made the comments Friday night in Paducah at the first Republican forum with all three GOP candidates for governor present. In fact, every GOP candidate running this year for statewide offices spoke at the event except Williams’ running mate, Richie Farmer. Farmer was attending a charity event in Lexington, said campaign manager Scott Jennings.

Without acknowledging his Republican rivals Phil Moffett and Bobbie Holsclaw by name, Williams told the crowd he had a proven record and already raised $900,000 in his bid. His last report from Dec. 31 showed he had raised $750,000 including a $100,000 personal loan from his own bank account.

Here are two-minute highlights of the candidates’ remarks at Friday night’s event at the Carson Center:

Moffett, a Louisville businessman, outlined the amount of bonds Kentucky sold over the last decade to cover the costs of projects and programs. He said that $9.5 billion in debt for bonds is Kentucky spending beyond his means, although he didn’t directly call out Williams for that.

Williams has served as Senate president since 1999.

Moffett, who is running with state Rep. Mike Harmon of Boyld County, also said the state needs a fresh approach.

Holsclaw, the Jefferson County Clerk, is the most recent entrant into the GOP primary. She had her lieutenant governor, political newcomer Bill Vermillion, filed to run last week.

Holsclaw told the crowd of more than 250 western Kentucky Republicans that Frankfort needs a woman governor to bring fiscal restraint and “clean house.”

Each of the gubernatorial candidates answered three questions: one on spending, one changing the candidate filing deadline and one about immigration proposals.

Watch Pure Politics Monday night at 7 p.m./6 Central to find out which issue prompted the most disagreement.

- Reporting by Ryan Alessi and video produced by Kenny Colston


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