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Former Kentucky Democratic Party chief mulling possible bid for U.S. Senate

By Jack Brammer

FRANKFORT — Former Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman Bill Garmer said Friday he is considering running for the U.S. Senate next year if Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes declines to enter the race against Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell.

“A lot of people have talked to me about the race,” said Garmer, a Lexington lawyer, in a telephone interview. “But Alison is the center of discussion. In my mind, if she wants the nomination, she has my support. She is one of the bright stars in the Democratic party and she wants to serve Kentucky. I would be the first in line to support her.”

Asked if he would consider running if Grimes decides not to run, Garmer said, “that sounds like a lawyer’s question but that would be fair.”

Grimes said April 23 that she is pondering whether to run for the U.S. Senate next year against McConnell. She said she would “take the time to reflect with my family, my supporters on how I can best continue to serve the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”

Mongiardo considers running for Kentucky governor in 2015

By Jack Brammer —

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.”

Mongiardos announce birth of a son

By Beth Musgrave

FRANKFORT — Lt. Gov Dan Mongiardo and his wife Allison announced Monday the birth of their second child.

Cannon Patrick Mongiardo was born Sept. 28 at 5:17 p.m. Both mom and baby boy are doing well, according to a written release from Mongiardo’s office.

The Mongiardos also have a daughter, Kathryn, who was born in December 2009.

“I have a son now,” said Mongiardo. “Allison and big sister Kathryn are doing fine. I just feel so blessed again.”

Fancy Farm schedules speakers for annual political picnic

The crowd at the 130th annual Fancy Farm Picnic held signs and yelled as politicians spoke. Photo by Tom Eblen.

By Jack Brammer –

Candidates for governor, U.S. senators and a “farewell” speech by Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo will highlight this year’s Fancy Farm picnic, which traditionally kicks off the fall campaigns in Kentucky.

Mark Wilson, political chairman for the 131st annual picnic on Aug. 6 at St. Jerome Catholic Church in the small Western Kentucky community of Fancy Farm, released information Wednesday about the picnic’s political speaking program.

Wilson said Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear and Republican Senate President David Williams have confirmed they will speak at the picnic about their campaigns for governor.

Wilson also said Lexington attorney Gatewood Galbraith, who is running for governor as an independent, will be invited to speak if his required candidacy papers have been formalized.

Mongiardos expecting their second child

Allison Patrick Mongiardo and Lt. Gov. Daniel MongiardoFRANKFORT – Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo and his wife, Allison Patrick Mongiardo, are expecting their second child.

Mongiardo spokeswoman Valeria Cummings Swope said Tuesday that the child, a boy, is due this fall. Mongiardo is scheduled to leave office in December.

Daniel Mongiardo, 50, and Allison Mongiardo, 25, had their first child, a daughter named Kathryn, on Dec. 22, 2009. The Mongiardos married June 21, 2008, after an 18-month engagement.

Mongiardo decided in 2009 not to seek re-election as lieutenant governor. Instead, he ran unsuccessfully last year for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate.

Before the Mongiardos’ daughter was born, the last child born to a couple in the state’s lieutenant governor’s office came in 2003, when former Lt. Gov. Steve Henry and Heather French Henry had their second daughter. Their first daughter was born in 2000 while he was in office.

Before then, the last child born to a couple in the state’s second highest elective office was in 1901, when John Crepps Wickliffe Beckham and his wife, Jean Raphael Fuqua Beckham, had a daughter.

–Jack Brammer

Beshear appoints Mongiardo’s business partner to $90,000-a-year post

Gov. Steve Beshear

By Jack Brammer –

FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear has given a $90,000-a-year political appointment to a business partner of Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo.

Beshear signed an executive order last week appointing Jerry T. Lunsford, a Frankfort building contractor, as commissioner of the Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction in the Public Protection Cabinet.

The department enforces state standards for building construction. It also oversees fire and life safety in existing buildings and licenses plumbers, electricians, boiler contractors, building inspectors and sprinkler and fire alarm contractors.

Beshear spokeswoman Kerri Richardson said Monday that Lunsford got the appointment because “the governor appoints those with the best experience and qualifications for the job.”

It’s official: Beshear-Abramson slate for governor and lieutenant governor

Gov. Steve Beshear and Louisville mayor Jerry AbramsonFRANKFORT — The campaign slate of Gov. Steve Beshear and former Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson in this year’s race for governor and lieutenant governor is official.

The two filed thier candidacy papers Thursday afternoon in the secretary of state’s office in the Capitol. They were accompanied by their wives, Jane Beshear and Madeline Abramson, and other family members.

Signing their papers were Beshear’s former secretary, Carol McDonald, and former law partner, Bruce Reynolds. They also signed the candidacy papers for Beshear with running mate Daniel Mongiardo in 2007.

Mongiardo puts Franklin County farm and house on the market

Allison Patrick Mongiardo and Lt. Gov. Daniel MongiardoFRANKFORT — Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo’s Franklin County farm, which became an issue in last spring’s Democratic U.S. Senate primary, is for sale.

Mongiardo bought the 54-acre farm in July 2009 for $753,069 with the help of a $30,000-a-year state housing allowance.

Carolyn Edwards, a Realtor with Creative Realty in Lexington, said the asking price for the land and a large farm house has not yet been determined.

Conway, Paul rally supporters at Fancy Farm


By Jack Brammer and Bill Estep –

FANCY FARM – The candidates in Kentucky’s hotly contested U.S. Senate race set the tone for a lively election season this fall with biting stem-winders delivered to a raucous crowd at the 130th annual Fancy Farm picnic in Graves County.

Democrat Jack Conway and Republican Rand Paul leveled charges at one another that will become steady drumbeats over the next three months.

Conway described Paul’s beliefs as “risky and radical” and said Paul “waffles and backpedals when his risky ideas are exposed.”

Paul tied Conway to an unpopular President Barack Obama and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and urged Conway to stand with Pelosi on federal health care legislation and environmental legislation known as “cap and trade.”

“I say to Nancy Pelosi: ‘Come on down to Kentucky,” Paul said. “Campaign with Jack. You can talk about cap and trade and Obamacare all you want. Good luck on that one Jack.”

Mongiardo endorses Conway for U.S. Senate

Daniel Mongiardo (left) and Jack Conway


By Bill Estep and Jack Brammer –

Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo said Wednesday he supports Attorney General Jack Conway, ending weeks of questions about whether Mongiardo would endorse the man who narrowly beat him in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary.

The question now: what does the endorsement mean in Conway’s tough race against Republican nominee Rand Paul?

Observers differed on that question Wednesday.

Several said Mongiardo’s move will help end the continuing speculation about his support for Conway, and why he hadn’t endorsed Conway earlier. Those questions had become a subplot in the general election — one that Republicans were glad to see.

“That endorsement has the potential to add a lot of momentum to the campaign,” said House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook. “It will help unify and it will help heal wounds.”