Williams predicts no upsets in state Senate primaries

05/12/2010 11:03 PM

FRANKFORT — State Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, told cn|2 Politics Wednesday that he wasn’t concerned about any incumbent Republican senators being ousted by GOP challengers in Tuesday’s elections.

Senate President David Williams

Of the 19 state Senate seats up for election this year, just nine of them feature competitive primaries. The Republican side has drawn the most action with five incumbent Republicans attracting intra-party challenges. (Two other seats are open because of retiring incumbents and only one Democrat, Sen. R.J. Palmer of Winchester, has a primary.)

But Williams, who is one of the five senators who has a primary challenge, expects he and the other four will win Tuesday. They include Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr of Lexington in the 12th District, Sen. Tom Buford of Nicholasville in the 22nd District, Sen. Ernie Harris of Crestwood in the 26th District and Sen. Julie Carmen Denton of Louisville in the 36th District.

Kerr, perhaps, drew the strongest challenge. Andrew M. Roberts, a veterinarian and horse farm owner from south Lexington, who has drawn support from the Kentucky Equine Education Project and Republican donors who favor expanded gambling, such as allowing slots at horse racetracks. Kerr, who was first elected in 1998, voted against such a measure this year.

The most recent fund-raising reports showed Roberts had outspent Kerr, $40,000 to $31,000 as of May 3. Kerr had more money left over, though, and Williams said she collected more at a major fund-raising event after that report was filed with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance.

“I think she’s fine,” Williams said. “There had been a poll done earlier that showed her significantly ahead.”

He said that might have discouraged KEEP and the horse industry from being even more active in the race. Still, the winner of the GOP primary will face a test in the fall against Democratic candidate Don Blevins, who is well known in Lexington after serving 27 years as Fayette County clerk.

“I’m not saying she’s invincible. That’s a difficult district there,” Williams said of Kerr. “That’s probably one of the more difficult districts that we have. That district votes Democrat on occasion. But she has a very strong performance in that district.”

- Ryan Alessi

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