Thursday, May 27, 2010

CN2-Politics Shares Beshear Response to Bourbon Bill

Ryan Alessi at CN2 Politics reports on Governor Beshear's response to the vote yesterday in the Kentucky House of Representatives. Link to aticle below.

Tim Havrilek Discusses KY Senate Race With Washington Times

Rand Paul's nomination as well as his most recent controversial statements have provided a lot of interest around the nation. Although his comments were ill advised and not thought out, I don't believe that it provides an issue for the Democrats in Rural Kentucky.

The Washington Times interviewed me for their story and if you so desire to read my take on Rand Paul's comments and how they will effect the Senate race in Kentucky then follow the link below.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Rep. Moberly Angry at Gov.: No Free Bourbon

The Kentucky House of Representatives voted down, in an apparent act of defiance to the Governor, legislation to allow Kentucky distilleries the ability to give away samples. Rep. Harry Moberly of Madison County gave a speech that condemned Gov. Beshear for what he called a lack of leadership. "Where are you", proclaimed Moberly in referring to Governor Beshear's leadership.

Moberly chastised Governor Beshear for not communicating with House Leadership and its Members. Moberly criticized the Governor for putting the sampling legislation on the extraordinary session agenda while leaving off charter school legislation. By not passing legislation that would establish some form of charter schools in Kentucky it cost the Commonwealth the opportunity to receive 175 million dollars in federal education dollars. Kentucky needed to add points to its "race to the top" application to qualify for the money.

I think most legislators thought the sampling bill would pass but after the vote it was obvious that Moberley's speech had convinced and provided enough legislators an outlet to send the Governor a message. Moberly went on to say this would be the worst budget he ever voted for.

Rep. Jim Wayne of Louisville spoke about his displeasure with the budget bill but was later called to the carpet by Rick Rand the House Appropriations and Revenue Chairman. Rand pointed out that if Rep. Wayne was so concerned about the bill he probably should have attended Tuesday's A & R committee meeting. In regard to Rep. Wayne missing the meeting Rand said, "He could have done his posturing there".

In other notes- Rep. Sannie Overly did a wonderful job presenting the transportation and road bill. Former Speaker Rep. Jody Richards rose to speak about former Sen. Walter Baker who passed away this week.

The air in the House Chambers was notably thick with frustration. The present political climate combined with the lack of a credible working relationship with Sen. Williams has left many in the House feeling angry and powerless.

Kentucky now struggles with a state divided into many political and geographical parts. Democrats are bitterly divided between Rural and Urban areas. Republicans have controlled the federal delegation for 16 years but now have a libertarian as their nominee for the U.S. Senate. The Kentucky House is controlled by the Democrats, the Senate is controlled by the Republicans and the Governor now seems to be on the outs with both chambers. We are in the midst of a U.S. Senate race but the governor's race for next year has already begun. Rumors are flying about and I have heard that Rocky Adkins the House Majority Leader is now considering running for Governor. Mitch McConnell has lost the power and control he once wielded in the Kentucky Republican Party.

I think the word that best describes Kentucky's political climate is "Anarchy". As I have said for the past 3 years success is going to be finding some folks who can be a unifying force. The Democrats need it, the Republicans need it and Kentucky needs it.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Kentucky Politics: "The Baby Bourbon Bottle Session"

As legislators are fond of saying "the devil is in the details."Lawmakers tell me they have an agreement in principle on most issues but as many as 75-100 "specifics" are yet to be ironed out. The "specifics" are the exact language and numbers that apply to the legislation. It would appear that 5 days is not going to be enough time to reach an agreement. The consensus seems to be taking into account the holiday, that as much as 2 weeks will be needed.

The road plan lacks an agreement and may very well be scrapped. Kentucky would work off the existing 6 year plan if legislators choose not to pass one this year. House Democrats don't care to be offered an "all or nothing" proposition but would rather have as many as 4 options to choose from. Some Democrats have told me that they prefer to re-visit the road plan in January as opposed to allowing the Republicans any projects to campaign with in November.

Schools that have been rated a category 5 which are deemed the highest priority for replacement will be provided funding this session. Although education is not immune to politics in Kentucky it would seem that both Democrats and Republicans have decided not to hold these dilapidated schools hostage.

No word on charter schools but it sounds like Kentucky Distilleries will carry the day in their effort to be able to dispense samples of Kentucky Bourbon at events.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Conway Begins 25 Points Down

The Rasmussen Report released their latest Kentucky polling data showing that Rand Paul enjoys a 59-36% lead over Jack Conway. Only 59% of the Democrats polled said they supported Jack Conway. The polling revealed that 63% of Kentuckians disapproved of Obama, 63% favor immigration laws like Arizona and 52% disapprove of Gov. Beshears job performance.

The poll also showed that 78% believe that police officers should be required to check the status of immigrants during a traffic stop or if they suspect the person might be an illegal alien. You can check the rest out at the Rasmussen Report website.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

West Kentucky: Post Election Notes

Trigg County Attorney H.B. Quinn was upset last night by Randall Braboy. Quinn had served for over 20 years and was facing his first challenge. Most considered that Quinn would be re-elected.

Peanuts Gaines the sheriff of Warren County won the primary again by 63% of the vote. Gaines has served-well let's just say no one can remember when he was not the sheriff.

Rep.Jim Gooch (12th House District) rolled through his opposition by winning 77.8% of the vote.

Michael Duncan( 10th House District) of Dawson Springs won the Democratic nomination to replace Eddie Ballard in Hopkins County. Duncan defeated Monroe Slaton winning 52.69% of the vote.

Brock Thomas the incumbent Caldwell County Judge Executive won his primary by carrying 56% of the vote. Also in Caldwell County- Rodney Heaton won the primary for a spot on the Fiscal Court by winning 28% of the vote in a 4 way race. Heaton was endorsed by Sen. Joey Pendleton.


Not any surprises other than the turnout was even lower than predicted in many counties. The low turn out state wide made the race very close. Conway did not fare well in Western Kentucky as expected. Most agree that the low turnout can be chalked up to the fact that people are waiting to vote Republican in November.

Paul has a few issues that will could hurt him with farmers, military and veterans but Conway has serious negatives with his stance on coal, guns, abortion and gay rights. West Kentucky will probably be very tough on the Democrats come November.


Rep.Tom Riner in the 41st house district won his primary carrying 61% of the votes.

Rep.Sannie Overly won the Democratic primary in the 72nd house district. Probably the only race that really mattered in Kentucky.

Monday, May 17, 2010

West KY Clerks Predict Voter Turn Out

The predictions for voter turnout made by County Clerks in the First Congressional District appears to vary from county to county. I have tried to provide as many counties as possible but many clerks were out setting up voting machines as one might expect. I did ask each clerk if the U.S. Senate race had generated much interest in their respective counties. With the exception of one clerk all responded with a "NO". Most said there was little to no activity regarding yard signs and or not much TV advertising. All commented about how negative the senate races had gotten which they believed had accounted for at least some of the apparent lack of interest. An over whelming majority said this would not be the case in November and expected a huge turnout then. Probably not a good sign for the Democrats or incumbents.

"It's too wet to plant and not wet enough to frizzle the ladies hair"- Christian County Clerk, Mike Kem

Christian County Clerk Mike Kem said that he expected a 30% turnout. "I think it will be a little more than normal because it's too wet to plant and not wet enough to frizzle the ladies hair." There are 36,061 registered Republicans and Democrats in Christian County.

Ballard County Clerk Lynn Lane said she expects 30-40% turnout which is much lower than normal. Lane said, "historically we vote 60-75%." The only contested county wide race is the Jailer's race although 4 of 5 magistrate districts are contested.

Trigg County Clerk Wanda Thomas predicted voter turnout at 32% for Trigg County. There are 10,012 registered R's & D's in Trigg County. Thomas stated that there has been 600 new registered voters in the last 4 years. County Attorney H.B. Quinn has opposition for the first time since being elected in the 80's. There are 4 magistrate races and a sheriff's race on the ballot. Thomas stated that there had not been much activity in the senate race but hoped that voters would decide to take it seriously because it was important.

Todd County Clerk Billy Fowler said that his county would probably be around the 50% mark. Fowler alluded to the number of local races on the ballot. Fowler said there were 6 candidates for sheriff, 2 for county clerk and 6 candidates for magistrate in district 2 alone. In regard to the senate race Fowler said, "I don't think people even know who is running."

Hopkins County Clerk Devra Steckler is expecting about 30% of the voters in Hopkins County to turn out. Steckler said the senate race had not generated very much enthusiasm for which she credited to the negative campaigning. "Voters don't like all the bad mouthing", said Steckler.

Caldwell County Clerk Toni Watson was very optimistic about voters turning out. Watson said she thought turnout would be between 50-55% but thought it may go as high as 60%. In regard to local interest in the senate race Watson said, "there is some interest but not much."

Calloway County Clerk Ray Coursey expects 30-35% of voters to turnout in Calloway County. Coursey noted that there were 26 candidates for 12 spots on the Murray City Council, 3 running for mayor, 2 magistrate races and a contested sheriff's race.Murray's council and mayor races are non-partisan. Regarding interest in the senate race Coursey said, "there is interest among the party faithful but that's it. Independent minded voters will vote in November."

Henderson County Clerk Renny Matthews is expects 40-45% voter turnout based on past elections. Matthews believes that local races have generated a lot of interest. "We have heated races here," said Matthews. The race for U.S. Senate had generated some interest in Matthews opinion.

Graves County Clerk Barry Kennemore said he was hoping for 40-50% turnout in the county. Regarding the senate race Kennemore said,"Not much interest in the senate race".

McCracken County Clerk Jeff Jerrell office stated that Mr. Jerrell predicted a very light turnout around 15-20%.

Marshall County Clerk Dianne McKendree is making her first prediction as Clerk and estimates a voter turn out in Marshall County at 50% or higher.

Carlisle County Clerk Theresa Owens does not expect more than a 20% turnout even though the U.S. Senate race had generated a lot of interest.

Lyon County Clerk Sarah Defew says voter turn out is usually very good and she expects any where from 63-68%. Defew said, "there is no interest in the senate race, people are waiting until November."

Logan County Clerk Scotty Harper said he was not sure about the turnout but would guess a low to moderate one. Regarding the senate race Harper said, "I have not heard much about it."

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Kentucky Politics: Ryan Alessi Helps Launch CN/2 Politics

Ryan Alessi became a household name in Kentucky by bringing to light the scandals at KACO and KLC as a political reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Now Alessi has accepted a new challenge as Director of Public Affairs for Insight Communications. The Commonwealth Network on Channel 2 (CN-2) will launch their public affairs programming next Tuesday to provide coverage of the Kentucky primary elections.

CN-2 has a political website aptly named CN/2 Politics to compliment their the public affairs programming. Insight Communications will also unveil a weather and sports channel. I spoke with Ryan Alessi about his new role and he said,"I'm excited about the opportunity to help build a new organization from the ground up." The website states they will provide "news and analysis about campaigns, elections, state and local government and the commonwealth federal delegation."

Alessi stated that the public affairs programming would compliment Comment on Kentucky which airs on KET. In the coming weeks CN/2 will be hiring new reporters to cover the issues across Kentucky. As always I voiced my concerns about the state wide media coverage (or lack of) of Western and Rural Kentucky. Ryan assured me that public affairs issues and politics would be covered in an even handed manner and reporters from Rural Kentucky would be included.

I give a thumbs up to the political website. It's laid out well and should probably move into the "top dog" spot of political websites in Kentucky. There is usually a good political story in Kentucky if you have the time and energy to seek it out. I for one welcome some good hard political news. Nothing wrong with a little political gossip or an occasion rant, God knows I'm guilty of a good rant every now then. In my conversation with Ryan I believe the thing I liked best was the desire to provide some balanced state wide coverage. As I cried for Western Kentucky, Ryan was quick to take me to task about coverage being a two way street and he was right. I don't like reading the Courier Journal or the Lexington Herald-Leader only to rarely read about Western Kentucky unless it's something negative. If we are going to bridge the obvious social, political, and cultural divide in this state then the Rural Media has a responsibility to provide balanced coverage even if we don't always agree. It was correct and bold of Ryan to call me on this issue which was pretty gutsy considering he ain't real big.

I enjoyed talking about the primary and the political climate around the state and nation. We talked about football and the important role athletics can play in helping students improve their lives. Insight Communications made a good decision by providing Ryan Alessi the opportunity to build their News & Public Affairs Programming. Alessi's enthusiasm combined with his knowledge and desire should provide CN/2 the tools they will need to be successful. I appreciate Ryan spending some time with me and wish him the best of luck in this new endeavor.

CN/2 Politics

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mongiardo Covers State In Kentucky Senate Race

Dr. Dan Mongiardo is taking no chances and leaving no stone unturned in his bid to win back a Senate seat for Kentucky Democrats. Mongiardo is a moderate democrat from Rural Kentucky and is considered the best and only candidate who will keep Democrats from voting Republican in November. Mongiardo is not as conservative as the left wing liberals would have you believe nor is he as liberal as some right wing conservatives would have you believe.

Mongiardo strikes the best balance for Kentucky Democrats in a state that is very diverse. While Conway is an attractive candidate and no doubt intelligent and politically savvy, he formed his campaign with the heavy weights at the DNC at a time that most Kentuckians are dissatisfied with party leadership. The race mirrors the nation in regard to the divide between rural voters and urban voters. The winner (I think) will be the one that can convince the voters that they will be able to strike that balance when it comes to representing them. In Western Kentucky I have not seen Conway earn the support of moderate or conservative democrats.

As the campaign comes to a close Mongiardo has chosen to spend the last week with the people of Kentucky as he travels across the state visiting 5 or 6 counties a day. I have included the West Kentucky schedule for those who are interested.


*8:00 am cst- MURRAY- at Judicial Building

9:40 am cst- BENTON- at Cactus Grill, 109 Carroll Rd. Draffenville

11:20 am cst- MAYFIELD- at City Hall

1:00 pm cst- FULTON- at Pontotoc Community Building

2:30 pm cst- CLINTON- at Senior Citizens Building

3:45 pm cst- BARDWELL- County Judge Executives Office

5:00 pm cst- LA CENTER- Chamber of Commerce Building


7:00 am cst- CADIZ-at Cadiz Restaurant

8:00 am cst- HOPKINSVILLE-at Pennyrile Allied Community Services on Liberty

10:30 am cst- MADISONVILLE-on Court House Steps

12:30 pm cst- HENDERSON- at Judicial Center


at Nolin Rural Electric Cooperative Building

For more information contact:

Annette Lee- 859-951-8052 or

Emily Gallt-502-226-4841 or

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Wendell Ford Legacy: 1994

The Wendell Ford legacy is not necessary one to be proud of if your a democrat from Rural Kentucky. If you recall 1994, Ford was in his hay day of power as Majority Whip and the undisputed king of the Kentucky Democratic Party. When the opportunity presented itself for Ford to stand up to the Clinton Administration and stand behind Kentucky traditions and beliefs, what did Wendell Ford do? He sold out Kentucky and Kentuckians responded by wiping out the Democrats.

Issue after issue, Wendell Ford sat idle and let the liberal establishment do whatever they wanted. Because of Ford the Kentucky Democratic Party has never recovered and probably never will. It's unfortunate but for some reason Kentucky Democrats have always had an inferiority complex or felt the need to be validated by the east coast liberals. Why I don't know. My Mother always said that there was nothing wrong with being nice to people but that didn't mean you had to invite them home for dinner. Some where along the line I guess Ford decided he liked having dinner at their house instead of coming home to Kentucky to have dinner.I find it ironic that the KDP headquarters which bears his name resembles the present condition of the Kentucky Democratic Party-empty,dilapidated,disingenuous, and wore out.

I do know that Rural Democrats hold people like Wendell Ford and Bill Clinton responsible for destroying our party in Kentucky.The farmers have not forgotten. The military has not forgotten. The veterans have not forgotten. The gun owners have not forgotten. Home schoolers have not forgotten. Christians have not forgotten.

Now, Wendell Ford wants us to vote for Jack Conway? I guess I would like to ask the good Senator if he expects Jack Conway to continue where he left off- Selling out the values and traditions of Rural Kentucky Democrats. Ford had his moments but in the end he sold out his own people to be popular in Washington. Light one up Senator and let's lose a few more seats for old time sakes-how bout it!!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Political Climate In Western Kentucky & The South

Trying to catch up after being on the road for much of the last few weeks. My travels have taken me all over the South and I came away with a pretty good feel for the political climate. I must admit that I have not kept up with Kentucky politics as of late and have spent the last few days trying to catch up.

In Western Kentucky there does not seem to be a great deal of interest in the Primary. Folks are either angry, turned off or both. The consensus is that people are waiting until November to get even with Obama, Pelosi and Reid. I think a low turn out in Rural Kentucky would probably be to Jack Conway's favor if they turn out in the Urban areas. It's obvious this race has turned ugly. I still think Monjiardo would be the best candidate in November given the back lash to the ultra liberal agenda in Washington. Conway has gotten caught up trying to secure his liberal base while at the same time trying not to get blown out in Rural Kentucky. It would appear that most of the Democrat Leaders in Kentucky have decided that they will stand with Liberal factions in Washington and the DNC as opposed to saving and rebuilding a moderate to conservative party in Kentucky. This is not surprising because I have witnessed this through out the South in the last few weeks. The result is that the Democratic Party in most Southern states in non-existent. I could not find any Democrats who were willing to support the Democratic Party at any level. I once thought that the Democratic Party in the Southern States were smart enough to keep their wits about them but I think that is no longer true.

While the Democratic Party will continue to thrive in Urban areas championing a liberal social agenda there is no longer a future for Democrats in the South. I'll will go ahead and say it-the Democratic Party is DEAD in the South and probably Western Kentucky for good. There are not many issues or platforms that will sell down here nor is there anybody who is interested in hearing about it. In short- taxes, immigration, abortion, gun control, moral issues, cap & trade, coal, tobacco and entitlement programs have forced moderate and conservative Democrats away or to the sideline.

In Kentucky, I have friends on all sides of this Senate race but I fear that having a primary is probably an act of futility because I think the Republicans win big in November. For those who have not drank the liberal waters then they stand a fighting chance. Ten percent of voters who consider themselves neither liberal or conservative will decide many of the elections around the nation. These middle class voters are rarely engaged in politics. They have been known as the "Silent Majority", "Reagan Democrats", Perot supporters, Independents and now Tea Party folks. I think it is a mistake for any candidate or party to discount them or disparage their concerns. The Tea Party organization did not create this outrage or movement-they simply stepped in front of the crowd and said let's go. As history has shown this will be short lived and by next year it will be politics as usual in many places for another 15 or 20 years.

Voters are not interested in solutions that cost them more money or lead to tax increases. They are mad and they want taxes cut, spending reduced and government to stop trying to solve problems with their money. In Kentucky and across the nation polling is consistent regarding how voters feel about elected officials, debt and taxes. Americans don't trust Washington to solve problems and they don't trust the Democratic response to the problems which is to create costly entitlement programs and hope our economy remains better than Greece.

In Kentucky decisions have to made by the General Assembly but right now politics is only about one thing and that's what I call the "Eastern Kentucky Sand Box". The General Assembly is run by two East Kentucky boys who don't let other children play in their "Sand Box". As of late these two seem willing to do nothing but keep defecating and covering up the mess with more sand. In the end the "Sand Box" is theirs and but at some point somebody is going to have to clean out the mess because it's starting to smell. The answer is simple to save their political skins. No new projects. No new spending, no borrowing, cut government, no legislation that calls for spending revenue. Pretty simple folks.

Speaker Stumbo who has years of experience and a good track record of working with other Rural Legislators will have to probably make the unpopular choice which is keeping Frankfort running on a bare minimum without new projects. It's time to play Harry Truman. It's not a fun role but it's one that people will respect and vote for. If everyone in Frankfort wants to sit at the track and waste time waiting on a long shot to come in, then that's OK by me but in the mean time I would suggest bringing forth a budget even if it hurts.

While working in races in many other states I see that most folks share the same concerns from state to state and it is not a good time to be holding hands with liberals in Washington. Enough politics for now. I hope to talk about my flood experience in Franklin, TN and share some insight from my seminars and the Society of Business, Industry and Economics Conference I attended a few weeks ago.