Political Blog

Kathy Stein to the Senate? Governor Makes Changes

We’ve been reporting here and on air that longtime 75th State Representative Kathy Stein says she’ll run for the Kentucky Senate, if a seat comes open. Translation: If Senator Ernesto Scorsone is appointed to the Fayette County Circuit Judgeship being vacated by Judge Sheila Isaac.

STEIN RUNNING FOR STATE SENATE?

        We’ve been reporting here and on air that longtime 75th State Representative Kathy Stein says she’ll run for the Kentucky Senate, if a seat comes open.   Translation:  If Senator Ernesto Scorsone is appointed to the Fayette County Circuit Judgeship being vacated by Judge Sheila Isaac.

         A couple of weeks ago, Scorsone laughed when we asked if he is interested and he said … “there’s nothing I can say about that.”   Not a denial.   He continued laughing as he talked about the joy of serving in the senate.  Scorsone has been in the legislature since he was elected to the house in 1984.

        Now, Stein told me “this is coming from the horse’s mouth… I’m running for the senate.”    She obviously knows more about all the dynamics involved than the rest of us.   The circuit judgeship would be an appointment by Governor Beshear.  The senate seat would require the major parties to name nominees.   If it’s Stein, that same process would be repeated for her state house seat.

        The Democrats obviously feel both districts heavily favor them.  The registration advantage is tremendous.   The areas were also the key areas of strength in Barack Obama’s narrow win in Fayette County in the May primary.  Obama carried only Fayette and Jefferson Counties, losing the other 118 counties to Hillary Clinton.    A Democratic activist also points out to me that in the house seat especially, the district is made up of lots of ‘downtown and UK Democrats’… typically among the state’s most liberal voters.  They don’t believe Republicans could field a credible challenger in the district.  (Just as Democrats have a hard time recruiting candidates in some of the state’s more Republican registered areas).

         If Stein were to bump up to the senate, it would also mean that Fayette counties two senate districts that lie completely within the county, would be held by women.   The other seat is held by Republican Alice Forgy Kerr.  

         It could also provide some theatre as Stein and Senate President David Williams would likely clash.   Stein chairs the Judiciary Committee in the house, in the senate, she would be in the minority.    She and Williams have lobbed a few comments at each other from one end of the capitol to the other… it could be interesting to see them working in the close proximity of the confines of the senate chamber. 

BESHEAR COMMUNICATIONS CHANGE

       Governor Steve Beshear wants a more aggressive approach to getting his message out.   To that end, he has hired UK’s chief spokesman, Jay Blanton.   Blanton has worked for P-R firms and for Louisville’s mayor and is known for running a disciplined message machine.

        Some of what you are likely to see from the 40-year old Blanton:

        A clear message of the day from the governor.

        Phone calls returned quickly or at least on or before reporters face deadline.

        Reporters would likely be quickly “corrected” if they got something wrong.

        Current Communications Director Dick Brown will go become a cabinet spokesman.  The likeable Brown was good to get the Beshear P-R machine rolling… but he may find the more ‘in the trenches’ duties he’s now assuming more enjoyable.   Blanton, on the other hand, is strong at crafting ‘over-reaching’ themes.   He helped U-K President Lee Todd call attention to what they referred to as “the Kentucky uglies.”    It drew attention to longterm challenges that Todd believes the state faces.    Once he had their attention, Todd was able to talk about how U-K might be able to help the state face its challenges.

Site That Few Saw or Heard

       An interesting site that few saw or heard at the Fourth of July Parade in Lexington…. Governor Steve Beshear blowing a tune on a trombone.  He greeted some members of Lexington’s community band, before telling a trombone player that he used to play the instrument.   The player gave the governor his shot and folks laughed along as the governor gave it a toot.  As for the music, the fundamentals were there, but maybe the governor himself best summed it up when he said …  “it’s been a while.” 

        Bill Bryant

        WKYT 27 NEWSFIRST THIS MORNING  5:00 to 7:00 AM

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        WKYT “Kentucky Newmakers”   Saturdays 11 AM

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