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.