By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT – Another state senator has entered the race for president of the Kentucky Senate.
Senate Appropriations and Revenue Chairman Bob Leeper, an independent from Paducah who usually sides with Republicans, said Thursday that he is seeking the position left vacant by the recent resignation of David Williams.
Williams, who was Senate president since 2000, resigned last week to accept an appointment by Gov. Steve Beshear to a circuit judgeship in south-central Kentucky.
Senate Majority Leader Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said last week that he is hoping to run unopposed for Senate president.
Leeper, a chiropractor, said Thursday in a telephone interview that he has “no problems” with Stivers, “I just want to give members a choice.”
If it had not been an open seat, Leeper said he would not be pursuing it.
“I’ve always wanted to be more involved. This open seat provides me the opportunity to do this,” he said.
Asked his chances of becoming the next Senate president, Leeper said, “Chances are always good if you try.”
Leeper, 53, has been a member of the Senate since 1991.
Senate Republicans now have 21 members in the 38-member chamber. They will add at least more to their number in January, due to the defeat Tuesday of Democratic Sen. Joey Pendleton of Madisonville.
Stivers, 50, could not be reached for comment Thursday. He has been in the Senate since 1997. He is an attorney.
Stivers has the support of Senate President Pro Tem Katie Kratz Stine, R-Southgate. Stine said last week she would not seek the presidency herself.
Senate Republicans plan to hold a retreat in December to elect their leaders for the 2013 General Assembly.