By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT — Though former state Auditor Crit Luallen and Attorney General Jack Conway are close friends, his recent comment that he is taking a “very, very serious look” at running for governor in 2015 has not deterred her from considering the race.
Luallen said Monday in an interview in her Franklin County home that she is “actively considering” the race and will make a decision about it by the end of this year. Still, she said she does not expect Conway and her to run against each other in the Democratic primary election for governor in 2015.
“We will work together and talk together as this evolves because friends don’t work against each other, friends work things out,” said Luallen, who is godmother to one of Conway’s daughters, Eva.
Asked if she would skip the race if Conway decides to run, Luallen said “I don’t expect we will ever have to face each other in a showdown. I think we’ll work this out.”
FRANKFORT — Add the name of former Democratic Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo to the list of Kentuckians considering running for governor in 2015.
Mongiardo, a Hazard physician who was lieutenant governor in Gov. Steve Beshear’s first administration from 2007 to 2011, said Friday in a telephone interview that he is “looking at” a possible bid in three years to be the state’s top elected official.
He also said if he decides to run, he’d be looking for a running mate “who has a passion for serving people, knowledgeable about the issues and has leadership capabilities.” He said those attributes describe current Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes of Lexington.
“She is very bright and has an excellent future in public life,” he said.
Asked whether he has talked to Grimes about the 2015 race, Mongiardo said they are friends “and have discussed a lot of things.”
By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT — Loyalists in Kentucky’s Tea Party movement who helped propel Republican Rand Paul to the U.S. Senate last year say they share no blame for the GOP’s poor showing in Tuesday’s state elections, especially in the race for governor.
Instead, they point to the Republican Party establishment, which they say too often backs and fields candidates who don’t adhere to their call for limited government and fiscal responsibility.
“I’m a registered Republican but my reasoning for Tuesday’s loss is that we saw an establishment candidate, Republican David Williams, get rejected by the Tea Party,” said Lexington conservative radio talk show host Leland Conway. “The establishment part of the Republican Party of Kentucky needs to learn that its candidates have to be true conservatives for the Tea Party to line up behind them and to win.”
Such comments reflect the Tea Party movement’s continuing efforts to gain influence in the Grand Old Party, which dominates the state’s delegation in Washington D.C. but has won Kentucky’s governor’s office only twice since World War II.
By Beth Musgrave and Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT — A day after suffering a 21-point drubbing by Gov. Steve Beshear, state Senate President David Williams said he has enough support among the 23-member Republican caucus to remain its leader.
Asked if the caucus might try to oust him when the legislature convenes in January because of his poor showing on Tuesday, Williams said he felt he had plenty of support.
“No one is telling me that,” Williams said. “I have a lot of support out there.”
Williams’ colleagues last elected him president in January. He faces re-election to the leadership post he has held since 2000 in January 2013.
Williams said he is physically, mentally and spiritually stronger after the grueling campaign. After exercising regularly during the campaign, Williams said he will no longer need insulin to control his diabetes beginning next week.
Former Louisville mayor and Lt. Gov. Candidate Jerry Abramson was the first to whisk into the Frankfort Convention Center, where Democrats are awaiting results.
In a casual round of interviews, he sounded an optimistic tone but cautioned that despite he and Gov. Steve Beshear’s healthy lead in polls, “it isn’t over ’til it’s over.”
Abramson did express disappointment in the low turnout Tuesday saying people in countries around the world fight and die for the right to vote.
After many Louisville mayoral races, Abramson said he enjoyed getting out into the Commonwealth and “discovering that we’re not all that different.”
We’ll have up-to-the-minute vote results starting at 6 p.m. on Kentucky.com.
Also, reporter Rich Copley will be filing reports on this blog from the Democratic Party rally in Frankfort tonight. Reporter Greg Kocher will have the latest from the Republican Party rally in Lexington.
Rich, Greg and the entire Bluegrass Politics team will be tweeting at @bgpolitics.
Have a great evening.
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By Beth Musgrave
FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear predicted a convincing win in Tuesday’s election, even as challengers David Williams and Gatewood Galbraith spent Monday trying to excite voters with more criticisms of the Democratic governor.
Williams, a Republican, accused Beshear of not telling Kentuckians the truth about the state’s finances, and Galbraith, an independent, told supporters that he and running mate Dea Riley will pull off the biggest upset of Tuesday’s election by besting Williams for second place.
Beshear, who enjoys a large lead in all publicly released polling, was in Somerset on Monday morning to announce a new $1 million grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission. He spent Monday evening at a pre-election rally in Louisville.
Speaking to a handful of supporters at Blue Grass Airport, Williams touted a story in The Courier-Journal on Monday that said Beshear has not yet identified how he will find $189 million in savings that is required by the state budget this fiscal year.
Still haven’t decided who to vote for on Tuesday? Use our voters’ guide to compare where the candidates stand on the issues.
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By Beth Musgrave
FRANKFORT — The state has spent more than $56,000 on rent, utilities and satellite television since March 2008 for a building used by Kentucky State Police near Gov. Steve Beshear’s private farm in Clark County.
Police assigned to Beshear’s security detail use the building when Beshear stays at his private residence instead of the state-maintained Executive Mansion, which is just steps from Beshear’s Capitol office.
The state Cabinet for Finance and Administration pays $987 a month to rent the building, officials said, while state police cover the cost of electricity, water and satellite TV, according to records obtained by the Lexington Herald-Leader under the state Open Records Act.
When asked how often Beshear and his wife stay at the farm, Beshear spokeswoman Kerri Richardson provided this statement: “Most recent governors have had private residences where they spend some of their time. The home of Governor and Mrs. Beshear is a working farm, which requires their regular attention.”
By Jack Brammer
SHELBYVILLE — Republican David Williams tried to stir support on Tuesday by criticizing Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear for taking part in a Hindu “ground blessing” ceremony last week for a new India-based employer in Elizabethtown.
“He’s there participating with Hindu priests, participating in a religious ceremony,” Williams said during a campaign stop in Shelbyville. “He’s sitting down there with his legs crossed, participating in Hindu prayers with a dot on his forehead with incense burning around him. I don’t know what the man was thinking.”
Beshear’s campaign spokesman called Williams’ remarks “pathetic and desperate.”
“Gov. Beshear is proud that 250 new jobs are coming to Elizabethtown,” campaign spokesman Matt Erwin said in a statement.