Williamstown lawyer Bill Adkins files for Democratic primary in 4th Congressional District

02/07/2012 01:09 PM

(UPDATED WITH QUOTES) Bill Adkins, a Williamstown lawyer and the Grant County Democratic Party Chairman, filed his candidacy papers Tuesday to run for the Democratic nomination in the open 4th Congressional District.

He joins Greg Frank of Corinth in the Democratic primary. Fort Mitchell businessman Nathan Smith, a former vice-chairman of the Kentucky Democratic Party, had considered running and said last month he wanted to see what the district would look like before jumping in the race. He hasn’t filed to run.

Adkins, who has been Grant County’s Democratic chairman since 2008, has been mentioned by Northern Kentucky Democrats in recent weeks as the party’s most likely contender in the fall election. But any Democrat will likely face an uphill battle in a district that already leans Republican and is likely to get more conservative as a result of redistricting.

Adkins said in a telephone interview Tuesday that the parameters of the new district “gives me concern.” He said he has been considering the race since Republican U.S. Rep. Geoff Davis announced in December that he wouldn’t seek a fifth term in 2012.

“I was kind of hoping a more visible Democrat might take it,” he said of the opportunity to run for an open seat. “But I’m hoping to advance the cause.”

Last August, Adkins called into to KET’s “Kentucky Tonight” during a discussion about raising the debt ceiling and likened the tea party movement to “a terrorist suicide bomber,” according to an article by the_ Kentucky Enquirer’s_ Scott Wartman.

And he has been critical of Davis. In a July 26, 2011, letter to the editor to the Lexington Herald-Leader, Adkins wrote that Davis and Congressional Republicans were hypocritical for calling for balancing the budget after signing off to spending increases during President George W. Bush’s term.

He wrote:

“Their failed fiscal policies damaged this nation more than our enemies during that period. Yet the Republicans and their incredibly gullible surrogates, the Tea Party, would sell us the concepts that Republicans are fiscally responsible and that doing the same thing would have a different result. Unbelievable and insane.”

State lawmakers are still finishing negotiations over a new congressional map as a result of redistricting to even out the populations of the six districts. The 4th District in Northern Kentucky is set to lose some Democratic-leaning counties in its southeastern part, such as part of Bath County, part of Boyd County, at least part of Carter County and all of Elliott County. It also is set to cede the northern part of Scott County with fewer than 6,000 people to the 6th District. And it is likely to pick up Republican precincts in Eastern Jefferson County as well as Shelby County and part of Spencer County.

The Republican primary features five candidates: state Rep. Alecia Webb-Edgington of Fort Wright who was first in the race and hired Davis’ spokesman as her campaign manager; Boone County Judge-Executive Gary Moore, who was second to announce his candidacy and has strong ties across the region; Lewis County Judge-Executive Thomas Massie, who has tapped into U.S. Sen. Rand Paul’s support network; Tom Wurtz, a business consultant from Fort Mitchell, who has been active in the Northern Kentucky tea party; and Brian Oerther, a teacher from Oldham County who finished third in a 2010 primary for LaGrange mayor.

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