Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Conway Not Interested In Rural Kentucky Support

A house divided... you know the line. I can't say that I'm surprised about Jack Conway's lack of effort or desire to kiss and make up with Rural Kentucky. I've seen this so many times from urban candidates that the only thing I can't figure out is whether it's arrogance or stupidity or both. I should have posted this story yesterday because I had the scoop after speaking with Mongiardo staffers but the credit goes to Karla Ward at the Lexington Herald-Leader. Ward quoted Lt. Governor Daniel Mongiardo as saying that he would not be taking a position in the U.S. Senate race.

Sources within the Mongiardo campaign confirmed that Conway has put little effort into trying to win Mongiardo over. In fact, I'm told that actions by the Conway campaign can be best described as offensive to Mongiardo and Rural Kentucky. One Mongiardo staffer who applied for a position with the Conway campaign was told in an interview that they were from West Kentucky and that meant that they were not progressive enough to work for Jack Conway.

I guess the question now is whether Rural Kentuckians are progressive enough to vote for Conway. At this point I'm afraid that the only progressive movement that will be made by Rural Kentucky will be a progressive movement to the Rand Paul side of the tracks. West Kentucky rarely needs an excuse to vote Republican and its the responsibility of any Democrat who wants to be elected, to not only empower moderate and conservatives in Rural Kentucky, but also to convince them in blood that they are not going to fall lock step behind the much too liberal democrats in Washington.

Bill Cox once shared a story with me about how he and his father the late Rep. John Henry Cox ran into Henry Ward outside the Seelbach Hotel in Louisville. Ward was the democrat nominee for governor that year. Ward approached Cox and commented that although he and John Henry Cox had differences,that He (Ward) still valued his opinion. Henry Ward asked Rep. Cox what would be the one thing he could do to be elected Governor of Kentucky in November. John Henry Cox replied, "Get on a damn plane and go to Florida and stay there until after the election is over." Ward was defeated in general election by Louie Nunn.

Rand Paul 49%
Jack Conway 42%
**Minus Rural Kentucky Democrats Not Factored In

Well, the latest polling in the Senate race came out a few hours ago and Rasmussen reports that Rand Paul is leading 49%-42%. If you factor in that Conway will not have the support of Lt. Gov. Dr. Dan Mongiardo, Conway's lack of wanting to empower Rural Kentucky not too mention an apparent lack of respect then its probably going to be tough going for Conway come November.

It sounds like Jack Conway may need to heed the advice John Henry Cox gave Henry Ward all those years ago-Pack a bag and sun tan lotion.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Geveden To Replace Adam Edelen? & U.S. Senate Race

I will have to put this in the rumor category but a number of sources confirm that they have heard that Charles Geveden will replace Adam Edelen as Chief of Staff for Governor Beshear. Edelen is expected to seek the Democratic Nomination for State Auditor.

Geveden is the Deputy Secretary of Justice and Public Safety and served in the Kentucky House of Representatives for 17 years. I have bounced this off a number of folks and the response is mixed. While no one had anything negative to say about Geveden most agreed that if this move occurs it would be done so in an attempt to strengthen Beshears ties to the Unions and maybe pacify West Kentucky a little.

The reactions I received from people were pretty similar in regard that they thought any efforts by Beshear at this point to appease West Kentucky were "too little, too late". A number of democrats in counties that have little or no union influence thought an appointment with ties to the unions would be counter productive for the democrats in their counties.

UPDATE: A source has informed me that Mike Haydon and possibly someone from Abramson's staff may still be considered.

It would appear to me that Gov. Beshear, Conway and the Party are putting together the traditional general election campaign that empowers unions, liberals, and minorities. A strategy that has spelled doom since 1984. Rand Paul will surely run against Obama and a liberal agenda. The usual "Golden Triangle" strategy has failed time and again but always looks good on paper to the DNC.

Obama garnered a 49, 136 vote margin out of Jefferson and Fayette and ending up losing Kentucky by 296,477 votes. Lunsford had about the same margin of victory out of these two counties but lost by almost 107,000 votes. Here are some statistics of this failed strategy over the last 26 years.


McConnell: 644,990

Huddleston: 639,821


McConnell: 478,034

Sloane: 437,976


McConnell: 724,794

Beshear: 560,012


Bunning: 569,817

Baesler: 563,051


McConnell: 731,679

Weinberg: 339,634


Bunning: 873,507

Mongiardo: 850,855


McConnell: 953,816

Lunsford: 847,005

"Those who don't know history are destined to
repeat it"

Edmund Burke

By my assessment of the last 26 years I have concluded that for the democrats to win they must employ a "must win" strategy in 5 counties which included Barren, Christian, Warren, Hardin and Daviess. Only a moderate to conservative stance on just about every issue will be required. The main themes will have to be agriculture, military, veterans and industry. The margin of error is very slim for the Jack Conway. Conway will have to prove that he is committed to staunchly defending Fort Knox and Fort Campbell as well as Agriculture. I think its important for democrats in Rural Kentucky and these 5 counties to hear that Conway will seek a seat on Agriculture and Defense Committees and Sub Committees.

In the last 26 years in these 7 U.S. Senate races the democrats have only carried 3 of these counties on 4 occasions. Huddleston carried his home county of Hardin by only 465 votes in 1984. In 1990, Harvey Sloane carried Daviess County by 655 votes over McConnell. In 1998, Scotty Baesler carried 2 of 5 by winning in Barren County by 187 votes over Bunning and he also carried Daviess County by 1350 votes.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Rep. Rocky Adkins on KET

Rep. Rocky Adkins will join Bill Goodman as his guest Tuesday night June 29th on the KET public affairs program One on One. Rep. Adkins is the Majority Leader in the Kentucky House of Representatives. The show airs at 7:30/6:30 ct on KET 2.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Connie M. Huddleston to Speak at Columbus Belmont State Park

Columbus Belmont State Park will host author and Owensboro native Connie Huddleston. The West Kentucky Journal of Politics & Issues reports that Huddleston will be discussing her book about the history of Kentucky's Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The event is Sunday June 27th at 4pm. Read more at the

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

John Tilley As State Party Chair: A Missed Opportunity

It's a time honored tradition with Kentucky Democrats to allow the sitting governor the pleasure of choosing their own state party chairman. Last week Governor Beshear made his selection of Daniel Logsdon and the State Central Committee swiftly approved his choice. Yesterday, Jack Brammer of the Lexington Herald-Leader wrote an article about Logsdon's contributions to republican candidates. This bomb shell, while dismissed by the Governor, does not sit well with Democrats across Kentucky.

Although I don't know all the people Governor Beshear considered, I do know that Rep. John Tilley of Hopkinsville was considered to be the popular choice by many across Kentucky. Many felt that it was important to have a young, active chairman from Western Kentucky who could relate and unite all regions of the state. It is no secret that Jack Conway had recommended Tilley to the Governor while Ben Chandler and Critt Luallen had voiced their support for Tilley. I consider John Tilley a friend and believe he would have provided the neccessary leadership to help repair and mend fences around the state. I think Democrats across the state would concur that Rep. Tilley looks for ways to unite people and his selection would have gone a long way in healing the many open wounds felt by Rural Kentucky.

I don't know Daniel Logsdon and I'm sure he is probably a very capable person but this issue has already left a bad taste in a lot of mouths. I think at this point we should probably review the selection process. I am still in favor of allowing the Governor to choose a party chairman but I also think we should consider changing the process a little. I would suggest to the State Central Committee that we allow the Governor to choose 3 candidates for chairman and then allow those 3 candidates to make their case to the Committee thus allowing the Committeee to select the chairman. This allows the Governor some political cover while allowing the Committee the opportunity to decide which candidate will best serve all Democrats in Kentucky.

This was probably no big loss for Rep. Tilley but I think it was a missed opportunity for Kentucky Democrats. I asked Rep. Tilley to comment for this story and he declined.

Monday, June 21, 2010

State Party Chair Contributed To Republicans

Jack Brammer of the Lexington Herald-Leader has posted a story on Bluegrass Politics regarding the political contributions made by Daniel Logsdon the new Chairman of the KDP. Brammer reports that Logsdon has contributed to Mitch McConnell, Ernie Fletcher and Richie Farmer. Click the Bluegrass Report link to your right to read Jack Brammer's article.

Jim Host Quietly Considering Kentucky Governor's Race

Jim Host, Chairman of the Louisville Arena Authority Inc., is quietly feeling out a possible run for Governor. Sources close to Host tell me that he is only bouncing the idea around with old friends at the moment. Jim Host is not necessarily a household name in Western Kentucky but it would probably not take him long to get acquainted given his long history with Kentucky football and basketball.

A native of Ashland, Host began a broadcasting career in Lexington after graduating from the University of Kentucky in 1961. Host did play-by-play on WVLK for UK basketball and football. At age 29, Host was chosen by Gov. Louie Nunn to serve as Commissioner of the Dept. of Public Information. In 1971 he won the republican nomination for Lt. Governor but lost the General Election. Tom Emberton was the republican nominee for governor that year and the Emberton/Host slate lost to Wendell Ford and Julian Carroll.

Jim Host would leave politics and go on to start Host Communications a media and sports marketing firm. Within 15 years Jim Host would be known nationally as the "Father of sports marketing". Starting with garnering the exclusive rights to radio for Kentucky basketball, Host would later add Tennessee, Texas, Alabama, LSU, Boston College and many more. A publishing Company was also founded by Host to produce UK football and basketball programs.

Jim Host is given credit for helping provide a financial package to lure Rick Pitino to Kentucky and created the first NCAA sponsorship program. Host also served as head of the Kentucky Commerce Cabinet in the Fletcher Administration.

Host would have to be considered one of the two top contenders for the Republican nomination along with Mike Duncan former Chairman of the Republican National Committee. Republican insiders that I spoke with concur that Host and Duncan would be the front runners at this time. Senate Majority Leader David Williams was dismissed as a serious contender by all the Republicans I spoke with. Williams is considered to have too much baggage and has done serious damage to many relationships he once enjoyed within the Republican Party.

One long-time Republican activist who wished to remain anonymous said in regard to Sen. Williams, "Ronald Reagan was fond of saying that he knew what he knew and knew what he didn't know. Sen. Williams knows what he knows but unfortunately doesn't know what he doesn't know."

Most consider Richie Farmer to be a possible candidate for governor but many of those who I spoke with were critical of what they considered as his "hot and cold" moods regarding making a decision. Bill Johnson who withdrew from the U.S. Senate race is also considering seeking the nomination.

Sources tell me that Cathy Bailey of Louisville is also canvassing the political landscape for support for a possible candidacy for Lt. Governor. Bailey is a known GOP fundraiser and served as Ambassador to Lativia under President George W. Bush. Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw seems to be the favorite among those I spoke with to seek the Republican nomination for Lt. Governor. Holsclaw was elected County Clerk in Jefferson County in 1998, Prior to being elected clerk, Holsclaw worked in the U.S. Attorney's office and for former Sen. Majority Leader Bob Dole.

UPDATE: Ryan Alessi at CN-2 Politics informed me that Jim Host stated that he was not going to run for governor. Alessi has gone ahead and posted his story and video. I re verified my information from my sources and they are sticking with their story.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Harry Lee Waterfield Coming Home to West Kentucky

The announcement that Harry Lee Waterfield Jr. had been appointed to the Murray State Board of Regents came as welcomed news for folks all across Western Kentucky. Decisions made by Randy Dunn the President of MSU have left many people across the region shaking their heads in recent years.

Many have felt locked out the room while certain areas of the region remain without a voice on the board. The appointment of Harry Lee Waterfield Jr. will no doubt go a long way in restoring confidence and bringing equity to those whose voices have been silenced.

Harry Lee Waterfield Jr. told me yesterday that he was excited about the appointment and the opportunity to come home to his native Western Kentucky to serve the University his father helped build. Harry Lee Waterfield Jr. is the son of former Kentucky Lieutenant Governor Harry Lee Waterfield Sr. Governor Waterfield was elected twice Kentucky's Lt. Governor serving under Happy Chandler and then Ned Breathitt.

Harry Lee Waterfield Jr. currently serves as President of Investors Heritage Insurance in Frankfort. I am personally gratified by this appointment and know this may be the best appointment West Kentucky as received in the Beshear Administration. I claim a political heritage that includes Chandler, Waterfield and Collins so I share a sense of pride that Harry Lee Waterfield is coming home.

I really enjoyed talking with Harry Lee yesterday and sharing some memories of mutual friends and years gone by. I avoided all the controversial subjects because I know Harry Lee Waterfield will do what's in the best interest of Murray State University and the people of Western Kentucky. I will also say thank you Governor Beshear.

West Kentucky Football All Stars Defeat S. Illinois

Fort Campbell's Shawn Berner and his staff led the West Kentucky High School Football All Stars to a 29-12 victory over Southern Illinois at Stewart Stadium Saturday night. I would like to say that I got to see a lot of the game but unfortunately I did not. My duties as game director kept me hopping most of the night.

An estimated crowd of over 700 attended the game which may be a record. I am infinitely thankful to the media in West Kentucky for helping promote this game. I spent many years helping with football but I will admit that this was a big undertaking and could not have been accomplished without help.

The West Ky. players arrived last Wednesday to the Murray State Campus to check-in and begin practice. Players spent 3 days at MSU to prepare for the game. It's no easy task to feed and keep up with over 45 players. I want to thank Janeen Winters at Murray State for her assistance in helping arrange all our meals. Mike Thieke, facilities and game management coordinator at MSU provided me the crown jewel of help by enlisting the services of Mark "Bones" Perschel. The game went off without a hitch thanks to "Bones" who constantly help me put out fires and keep my head above water. In a stadium that big it was impossible for me to manage everything in a timely matter. "Bones" is actually the football video coordinator but he did it all Saturday night. He gets my MVP award!!

Lance Harper served as the Trainer all week and provided an invaluable service. I'm not sure anybody put in the time he did. Lance has been the trainer at Mayfield High School but has accepted the position as trainer for Murray High School.

Dave Winder, MSU Asst. Athletic Director, was gracious enough to provide us Kyle Rogers who served as our PA announcer. Mike Thieke was able to hire Ross MeLoan on our behalf as the score/clock keeper. We started the week with not many folks on board and I appreciate Mike and Dave putting up with my many visits begging for help. I also want to thank John Brush for help and advice as well as Fulton an MSU Trainer who provided us use of his training rooom for the week.

I have to hand it to Coach Berner and the staff he chose to serve as coaches for the game. They wanted to win and took this event very seriously all week. Ron Barnard of Marshall County High School served as the Defensive Coordinator while Scott Lowe of Fort Campbell served as the Offensive Coordinator. Other positions coaches were: John Hedges of Reidland, Nate Moore, Tyrone Johnson and Kenny Caver all of from Fort Campbell.

My thanks to WKFCA President Steve Lovelace of Christian County HS and WKFCA Treasurer Bob Nelson of Russellville for their assistance.

The Murray State Football Staff made themselves available at every turn to provide assistance when we needed it. Many thanks to Coach Hatcher and Coach Faulkner for all their help. All in all a good week and a great game. I look forward to next year and hopefully growing and improving this game.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Hollenbach Suffers Self Inflicted Gun Shot Wound

In an apparent attempt of political suicide, State Treasurer Todd Hollenbach shot himself in the foot and alienated most of his political supporters in Rural Kentucky. Mary John Celletti was let go from her position as Deputy Treasurer today. Many had expected this move by Hollenbach's chief of staff Maurice McDaniel. To political insiders it had been no secret that McDaniel resented Celletti's presence in the office. McDaniel, who is not known for his political skills came to the Hollenbach camp after serving in Tony Miller's office in Jefferson County.

McDaniel who considers himself a sort of "rain maker" is in all actuality a sort of "rain man". Those close to McDaniel confirm that he rarely makes a decision without conferring with Larry Clark the House Speaker Pro-Tem. Celletti has been a popular figure in the Kentucky Democrat Party for over 25 years. Known for her political savvy and understanding of the legislative process, Celletti provided the much needed experience in an office that has none.

It's been widely reported about the work habits of Todd Hollenbach and Maurice McDaniel who spend more time some place else than the State Treasurer's Office. Hollenbach, once thought to be an up and coming star in the Democrat Party has stumbled at every gate since taking office. Lacking in work ethic and the ability to raise money most expect Hollenbach to be a weak candidate should he choose to seek re-election.

With the news of Celletti's firing Steve Hamrick of Hopkinsville announced that he may seek the office of State Treasurer himself. Hamrick is a native of Murray and has been active in politics and government for over 40 years in Western Kentucky. Steve Hamrick's father, the late Bill Hamrick, was the first superintendent of Ken Lake State Resort Park. The golf course at Ken Lake is named in his honor.

The decision by Hollenbach and McDaniel will certainly play a role in uniting Rural Kentucky behind Jody Richards in his attempt to unseat Larry Clark as House Speaker Pro-Tem. In 2007 Hollenbach's best showings in Kentucky were in Western Kentucky carrying the Democratic ticket in Christian and Trigg Counties. Hollenbach also racked up big numbers in Calloway and Marshall Counties. I think its safe to say that Mr. Hollenbach will have to look for votes else where next year. Hollenbach, McDaniel and Clark have made it clear that they are no friend to Western Kentucky.

Ryan Alessi has a story also on this subject at

Friday, June 4, 2010

West Kentucky High School Football All Stars To Play Southern Illinois All Stars

Murray State University's Stewart Stadium To Host Game

HOPKINSVILLE, Kentucky- The 2010 West Kentucky versus Southern Illinois All Star Game will be held Saturday June 12, 2010 at 7:00 pm, at Roy Stewart Stadium on the campus of Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky. Shawn Berner, head football coach at Fort Campbell High School will serve as the head coach for the West Kentucky All Stars. General admission is $5.00 and coaching cards will be honored.

Steve Lovelace, President of the West Kentucky Football Coaches Association and the Christian County Head Coach stated, "I'm pleased with the support we get from Murray State to hold this event and look forward to working with Coach Hatcher and his staff." The All Star game is an honor bestowed upon athletes providing one last opportunity to play or showcase their talent before college. Shawn Berner said, "I'm honored to have the opportunity to serve as head coach of the West Kentucky All Stars." Berner has also been chosen as the head coach for the Kentucky All Star Game.

Head Coaches Josh McKeel of Calloway County, Joe Morris of Mayfield, and Steve Lovelace of Christian County have worked with Coach Berner and Game Director Tim Havrilek to continue what has become a tradition for West Kentucky Football. Coach Lovelace said, "It's my goal to return our association events back to the prominence and profile we enjoyed just a few short years ago." The association also sponsors the All Conference banquet which was established in the 1920's. The banquet was moved from high school cafeterias to the Curris Center at Murray State in 1993 with the help of former MSU coach Houston Nutt.

Jefferson Davis Birthday Celebration: Historian William Turner

At first glance some outside the Pennyrile might raise an eyebrow to the fact that Ron Sydnor is the park manager at the Jefferson Davis Monument Historic Site. Ron is an African-American who has served in the U.S. Marine Corp and also served the Kentucky State Park System at Ken Lake and Barkley. I don't want to put words in the mouth of Christian County Historian William Turner, but I think he would probably tell us that having an African American in a position of leadership is nothing new to our area.

Christian County had the first black sheriff in Kentucky and one of the first, if not the first black district judge. Hopkinsville's only Rhodes Scholars were black. F.E. Whitney served as one of the earliest and longest serving elected officials in Kentucky and I could go on and on. As a footnote some of my liberal friends might question my use of black versus African- American and I have to admit that sometimes I struggle with the political correctness because of one brown teacher I had in high school. This teacher made it clear that she was not African-American, was not from Africa, and was not black but brown. So one can see my dilemma.

Ron shared with me his story and the goals he has for the park. Ron admitted that the only culture shock he had was coming from the largest state park at Barkley with over a 100 employees to Jefferson Davis with a staff of 5. Ron said he is working on elevating the park to be open year round as opposed to the seasonal schedule it is on now.

The Jefferson Davis Birthday Celebration will begin tomorrow when the park opens at 9:00 am. Christian County Historian William Turner provided me with some insight regarding the monuments beginnings. A reunion of the Orphan Brigade was held in Bowling Green in 1907. Most of this brigade whose members were from the Glasgow area were killed at Stone's River. They wanted to honor Jefferson Davis and in 1909 with the support of the United Confederate Veterans and the Daughters of the Confederacy they began the effort to buy land a build a monument.

William Turner stated that Jefferson Davis shared the same popularity of George Washington in the South. "He was considered our George Washington," said Turner. Ground was broken in 1917 just prior to WW I. Turner explained that the monument was being constructed with Portland cement but was halted due to a moratorium placed on the cement by President Wilson. "President Wilson took all the concrete and sent it to Henry Ford so he could build his concrete ships which sank," said Turner.

Short of money and materials the construction was on and off again until the monument was finally completed and dedicated in June of 1924. A steel stairway provide access to the top but an elevator was installed in 1929. Turner commented that there was no electricity in the area and an electric line had to run all the way from Fairview to Hopkinsville to operate the elevator. William Turner offered that visitors in the early years often quipped and wondered why they did not bother to use some of the concrete to provide something besides a muddy path as a drive way to get to the monument.

Historian William Turner is the author of a number of books providing a photographic history of the area and will be having a book signing at the monument on Saturday.

Kentucky enjoy and benefits from having one of the finest state park systems in America. In my opinion Kentucky has failed to provide the funding to retain our position as the best of the best. Our state parks provide an opportunity to generate tourist dollars while also providing many great opportunities for Kentuckians. I spoke with Chris Kellogg today who is the Communications Director for the Kentucky State Parks. Chris shared with me about the diversity and choices Kentucky's Park System offers with 52 parks and 300 events a year. There is something for everyone at Kentucky's parks and I have never understood why Kentuckians would spends the hours and money to go out of state when we have so much to offer here at home. In these economic times and budget cuts I think it is as important as ever to show our support to the state park system. We may have some muddy waters but at least there is no oil to contend with.

Saturday June 5

9:00 Park Gates Open

10:00 Ladies Tea

10:30 William Turner Book Signing

1:00 Miss Confederacy Pageant

2:00 Historical Presentation by William Turner

7:00 Band providing period music

8:00 Cannon/Artillery firing

Sunday June 6

Worship Service-Bethel Baptist Church

2:00 Cannon salute to Jefferson Davis
I want to thank William Turner, Ron Sydnor and Chris Kellogg for their time and assistance for this article.
Visit the Kentucky State Parks online and become a friend of Kentucky Parks on Face Book at links below.