By Sam Youngman
In a dining room at the Triple Crown Country Club in Union, a group of Northern Kentucky Republicans gathered in late February to announce they were revving up a dormant Super PAC with the goal of flipping the state House to GOP control.
After speaking, Richard Knock, a prolific Republican fundraiser and chairman of AmeriGOP, opened the meeting up for a discussion, leading one audience member to suggest that Republicans create a written philosophy for the 2014 elections similar to the “Contract with America” that congressional Republicans rode to control of the U.S. House in 1994.
On Thursday, Knock’s group announced its “Contract with Kentucky,” a list of 10 economic beliefs that candidates must share to win the financial backing of the group.
Noting recent job loss announcements at Toyota in Erlanger and Fruit of the Loom in Jamestown, Knock said that “the loss of more than a thousand Kentucky jobs calls for bold action.”
“We want people to know that the AmeriGOP is raising money to send men and women to Frankfort who will support reforms that ensure we don’t lose one more company to states like Texas that are charging forward with conservative policies,” Knock said.
According to a news release first obtained by the Herald-Leader, the group’s 10 guiding principals are “job-friendly policies; opposition to over-regulation of energy and natural resources, particularly the coal industry; health care liability reform; opposition to redistribution of tax dollars; telecommunications reform; debt reduction; eliminating job-killing regulations; pension transparency; amending the tax structure; and pushing back against government takeover of our health care system.”
“If current leadership in the Kentucky House of Representatives won’t move Kentucky forward, then we will move forward with candidates who will put Kentucky’s interests first,” Knock said. “Like most business owners in Kentucky, I am so tired of watching my state get left in the dust while our surrounding states pass this legislation.”
Democrats hold a 54-46 majority in the House.
At the February announcement, Knock said the group would not get involved in primaries, releasing a list of candidates the Super PAC planned to raise money for that includes Keith Travis in the 6th District, Alan Braden in the 13th, Alex LaRue in the 24th, Jim DuPlessis in the 25th, Jerry Miller in the 36th, Jonah Mitchell in the 39th, Mike Nemes in the 49th, James Allen Tipton in the 53rd, Mark Hart in the 78th, and George Myers in Lexington’s 79th District, which is represented by Democratic Rep. Susan Westrom.
Knock’s group helped elect U.S. Sen. Rand Paul in 2010 and U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie in 2012.