Horse group launches ad touting Democrat in special election

November 11, 2009 | | Comments 24

By Jack Brammer –

Jodie Haydon

Jodie Haydon

FRANKFORT — An issues group connected to Kentucky’s horse industry began running advertisements Wednesday touting Jodie Haydon, the Democratic candidate in an upcoming special election to fill an open state Senate seat.

Keep Our Jobs in Kentucky Inc., which praises candidates who favor expanded gambling at racetracks, will run TV and radio ads in Lexington and Louisville for at least five days, said Patrick Neely, who is on leave as executive director of Kentucky Equine Education Project to work with Keep Our Jobs.

Haydon, a former state representative from Bardstown, faces Republican state Rep. Jimmy Higdon of Lebanon in a Dec. 8 special election to fill the 14th Senate District seat recently vacated by Springfield Republican Dan Kelly. The district includes Marion, Mercer, Nelson, Taylor and Washington counties.

State Rep. Jimmy Higdon, R-Lebanon

State Rep. Jimmy Higdon, R-Lebanon

“We were anticipating they would get in the race for my opponent,” Higdon said. “I voted against their bill to allow slot machines at the race tracks.”

Higdon said he had tried, but failed, to keep the issues group from becoming involved in the race. “I let them know that I wanted to let the people vote on a constitutional amendment to allow expanded gambling but they wouldn’t hear it,” he said.

The horse industry’s ad praises Haydon as a former legislator, Vietnam veteran and businessman, but it does not specifically ask voters to support him.

Keep Our Jobs is a so-called 527 group, a reference to the section of the Internal Revenue Service Code that governs it. The group must work independently of any candidates and can accept unlimited contributions that won’t have to be disclosed until next year.

Neely declined to say how much was spent on the ads. “More ads are certainly under consideration,” he said.

The group also kept mum about its expenses when it helped Democrat Robin Webb of Grayson win a special Senate election in August that eroded GOP control of the Senate from 20-17 with one independent.

She had voted in June for the expanded gambling bill and replaced in the Senate Republican Charlie Borders of Grayson, who left to accept a Beshear appointment to the state Public Service Commission.

In addition to the horse industry ad, Haydon released his first TV ad Wednesday. The 30-second spot introduces Haydon as providing “a life of service” to his family, church and country.

Meanwhile, Higdon said he has launched radio ads and has sent out mailers. “We will see about TV,” he said.

Filed Under: ElectionsKY General Assembly

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  1. atlake2001 says:

    Time to get the party of no no no (State Rep. Jimmy Higdon, R-Lebanon) do not vote for him. time to move on and lets get the games people want

  2. Me says:

    Well it’s better than the last one, but is there any specifics.

  3. Sarah says:

    This whole election is about the slots issue. And guess what? We need the slots!! This is about keeping our jobs here in KY and bringing revenue for our government services.

  4. PD says:

    Its not the games people want. It’s the games the horse industry wants. I wonder why the horse industry was fiercely opposed to Issue 3 in Ohio??

    Now that a casino is going to be in downtown Cincinnati, slots at Turfway Park won’t be able to compete anyway!

    Higdon has it right. Put it on the ballot and amend the KY Constitution.

  5. Pete says:

    Are you kidding me? Why waste our time electing people when they are just going to put it on the ballot instead of making a decision as a representative body. It is their chickening out of their responsibility. PD, you would just rather all of that revenue should go to Ohio? Even if they can’t compete for 100% of the business, why not shoot for a slice of the pie instead of none?

    We need the slots and we need our elected representatives to do their job and stop skirting from it. We aren’t California. We don’t need to put up decisions to referendum.

  6. Paul Elliott says:

    Slots might be a good thing but not in the hands of the racing industry. Leave it to casino professionals.

  7. mo_ky_fellow says:

    I wonder if those in the Horse Industry and Gambling Industry would sell their Wives, Mothers, Sisters and Souls if it meant a few more dollars in their pockets. It never fails to amaze me what they do in trying to get their way.

    ….and so it goes!

  8. Susan says:

    Jodi, could you please ask the horse industry, to please start giving their employment opportunities to Americans? Seriously, “keep jobs in Kentucky”? Has anyone walked the back stretch in the morning and seen how many Americans are working there, while jobs are difficult to obtain if you are American?

  9. Sherry says:

    Ohio horsemen opposed the slots bill in Ohio because it offers next to nothing for horsemen. The Kentucky bill included support not just for the racing industry but for other breeds and disciplines as well, including the pleasure and show horse industries. Check out the newest Paulick Report for what’s happening at Millennium Farm.

  10. Sherry says:

    Sorry–coding the link to the Paulick Report re: Millennium Farm didn’t work. The URL is

  11. Sherry says:

    Susan, you won’t find many Americans beating down the doors of backstretch barns hoping to be hotwalkers or grooms. Generally the pay is low, though circumstances vary by the success of the barn, always the work is hard and sometimes dangerous, and the workday starts before dawn, 365 days a year. Also, I wonder how many Americans today could walk in cold with the skill and background to handle racehorses. Many from Central and South America bring those skills with them. (They do have to prove right-to-work and be licensed.) But Americans do work on the backstretch and more certainly could, if a job is available and they’re willing to work for low pay in all kinds of weather.

  12. Susan says:

    Sherry, you’re wrong. There ARE people who would love to have those jobs and I am one, and know others. The pay is low because its cheaper to hire immigrants. The whole argument that immigrants are needed because Americans don’t want the jobs is false. Before the heavy influx of the immigrants I was making over 500 a wk at Rockingham Park (a cheap track)at one point, and then again making good money in New York and Florida. I have no idea how these states are making out first hand as Im living in kentucky now. I can only speak of Kentucky. Walk down the back stretch and its full of immigrants (Illegal?) Oh and Sherry- they don’t usually prove they are legal. They brag about how easy it is to get a job here as well as fake documentation.

  13. Sherry says:

    I do know the backstretch, first-hand. What was I wrong about? If jobs are available (a big “if” in Ky these days), they’re available to anyone with the necessary skills who is willing to work for the pay offered at the hours required. Some Americans might, and might have the skills–you apparently among them. Many would not, but I did not say none would. If you feel the pay is too low or that you’ve been undercut by others willing to work for less, that’s a different conversation with long history behind it. As to documentation, workers do have to provide documentation to be licensed. If they provide false documentation, that’s of course illegal, and sanctions apply if they are caught.

  14. stiversjim says:


  15. stiversjim says:

    Lowell Reese at Roll Call has the numbers on the politics and numbers concerning the gambling issue,

    Here is the read:

  16. Susan says:

    So its fine that the industry pays the wages they do, that they wouldn’t get away with if it weren’t for the immigrants? No, that’s just wrong, and its not fair to legal citizens,who can’t afford to work for those wages. With what I see being paid for these horses at the sales, its discouraging for those of us, who horses are our only real skills.
    “Illegal and sanctions apply”? Then please explain to me why so many illegals are getting away with it, both on the track and the farms. Does INS need a call to check into it? Somehow I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Too many important people with deep pockets contributing to election campaigns, are enjoying paying low wages.

  17. John says:

    I am sure that they won’t leave it in the hands of the racing industry, per se. They would obviously bring in people who know what they are doing. The thing is, Williams is trying to delay delay delay and it will be refected in the polls on how we feel about it. They need to vote on the slots.

  18. Sherry says:

    Susan–No one said low wages and falsely documented workers are “fine.” Did I say so? I said only that it happens–one group is willing to work for less than another, and history is full of such incidents and their consequences. And the law does indeed provide sanctions against illegal immigrants–that’s a fact. So if you believe those sanctions are not properly applied, exercise your rights as a citizen and take your concerns to people who are responsible to apply them. Better to harness your anger and spend it with purpose, not argue with someone who has no argument with you.

  19. jimbo says:

    I would guess that the proportion of legal to illegal is something like 10:90. Yes, the phony papers are readily available. And yes, these folk work for less. But guess what? Scroll up a bit and read about Harley coming to KY. Same deal. We in Ky work for less so York loses the factory. Sorry about your luck. And guess who is the major co-conspirator in this whole charade? The federal government. The majority of these workers are paying FICA and Med premiums…but they’ll never collect because these are bogus numbers on bogus names. But the gov cashes the deposits, sends out the occasional “do not match” letters, and the workers are paying for social securty that they’ll never get. Is this a great country or what?

  20. Susan says:

    Sherry, you didn’t come out and say it was fine, but you seemed to dismiss it and negate my point. While you didn’t say it was fine, you certainly have not exactly said “it’s wrong but it happens”. I suppose I could be the one to call and report such abuses, but others have done just that, and nothing ever happens. For the record, had I called and complained, I sure wouldn’t admit it here on a public forum. Like I said, people with deep pockets that contribute to those in Frankfort and Washington are going to keep their cheap help. Corruption. I’m not angry, but its frustrating. I’m just saying what happens time and time again on the back side as well as the farms, not saying you have anything to do with it. Am I not allowed to voice to other people what I and many American workers have had happen to us? I suppose I need to get behind Haydon’s competition and prod him to do something about it.

  21. Sherry says:

    Jimbo–I don’t have anything more to add to a discussion of legal vs. illegal, but I did get a wry chuckle out of your comment about Social Security. Heck, I’m Ohio-born and bred, US-of-A through and through, and I’M paying for Social Security I’ll never get! I predict it’ll be bankrupt long before I’m eligible to draw on it, especially if they keep raising the age of eligibility.

    Your point is well taken about the Harley jobs. It might take all day to list companies that sent jobs overseas because workers in some other countries will work for less than workers here, for whatever reason. A whole lot changed when “global economy” entered the national lexicon. But workers have been supplanted by others willing to work for less forever, I guess–reference the Great Depression, the influx of immigrants in the late 1800s/early 1900s, the beginning of unions . . . always difficult, nothing new.

  22. Big Ben 4 liberty says:

    So after reading the above debate between Sherry and Susan, I have concluded that Jodie Haydon, the recycled Democrat partisan hack (why do you DEMs keep recycling these failed, corrupt politicians?) is now a whore for the illegal alien-loving horse-racing industry in this state. An industry that foolishly believes legalized casino gambling will somehow magically stave off its continuing decline rather than actual real pro-growth (as in non-Keynesian and non-Marxist) economic policies which would help everyone out, the horse-racing industry included.

  23. Buck Feshear says:

    If Kentucky’s horse racing industry cannot survive on its own without being propped up by some gimmicky solution, it deserves to fail.

    Watching a horse race on TV is like watching a tennis match, or a golf match, or a soccer game, or bowling, or championship poker, or paint dry.