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

By Jack Brammer
jbrammer@herald-leader.com

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.”

After filing deadline, lineups are set for May 17 Kentucky primary election

By Beth Musgrave

FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear will not have an opponent in the May Democratic primary for governor, but Republican frontrunner and state Senate President David Williams will have two opponents.

Tuesday was the filing deadline to run for the state constitutional offices on the May 17 ballot.

In the Republican primary race, Williams and running mate Agricultural Commissioner Richie Farmer will face Jefferson County Clerk Barbara “Bobbie” Holsclaw and retired Navy officer and Jefferson County teacher Bill Vermillion Jr. Also on the Republican ticket is Phil Moffett, a Louisville businessman, who is running with state Rep. Mike Harmon of Danville.

Williams is the front-runner in both name recognition and fundraising. Williams and Farmer, a former University of Kentucky basketball player, have reportedly raised more than $753,196. Moffett has reported raising $53,000.

Beshear reports gifts in latest financial disclosure form

Gov. Steve BeshearFRANKFORT –Gov. Steve Beshear accepted three gifts last year worth more than $200 each, according to his financial disclosure form with the Executive Branch Ethics Commission.

They were University of Kentucky men’s basketball and football season tickets, a membership to the Frankfort Country Club and a framed print of Abraham Lincoln from the Lincoln Trail Area Development District in Elizabethtown.

State law requires all executive branch officials to file financial disclosure forms with the ethics agency by April 15.

GOP criticizes finance secretary after he solicits donations for Beshear

Finance and Administration Secretary Jonathan Miller

By Jack Brammer – jbrammer@herald-leader.com

FRANKFORT — State Finance and Administration Secretary Jonathan Miller is soliciting campaign funds for Gov. Steve Beshear’s re-election efforts, a move sharply criticized by the state Republican Party chairman.

Miller, who serves as the state’s chief financial officer and oversees many state contracts, sent out e-mails last week and posted on his Facebook page invitations to a fund-raiser for Beshear Saturday in Nashville after the semifinal games of the Southeastern Conference basketball tournament.

The invitations suggested a minimum contribution of $500 to attend and a maximum contribution of $1,000.

Kentucky GOP chairman Steve Robertson said in an interview that Miller has “no business” raising campaign funds for Beshear.

“It concerns me when someone in the Beshear administration who handles contracts and other state business raises money for the governor,” Robertson said. “It certainly is an ethically gray area.”

Miller said in a written statement to the Herald-Leader that his e-mails and Facebook message included a disclaimer asking anyone who may have a conflict of interest or who is statutorily prohibited from making campaign contributions to disregard the request.

Mongiardo gets new office spokeswoman

FRANKFORT — Valeria Cummings Swope, a former anchor and reporter for Lexington’s WKYT-TV and director of communications for the state Finance and Administration Cabinet for the last 14 months, is the new director of communciations for Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo’s office.