Scorsone Makes His Move… Candidates Consider
What we reported a few weeks ago is now official… Longtime Lexington State Senator Ernesto Scorsone is running for a Fayette County circuit judgeship. In doing so, he abandons his quest for re-election, leaving the door open for someone else.
One “someone else” who wants the senate seat is Democratic State Representative Kathy Stein. She indicates the governor was among those recruiting her for the race. Apparently she balked at first and then gave the thumbs up. Stein is the powerful chair of the house judiciary committee. In that gatekeeping capacity, she can call bills to be heard or put things aside that she doesn’t want considered.
If she goes to the Senate, Stein would find herself in much different territory. If Republicans maintain control of the Senate, David Williams would remain the president. Williams and Stein have tangled from afar… but closer encounters could be interesting.
The Republicans are not about to let the seat stay Democratic without a fight. Sources say businessman John Hampton is strongly considering the race and is getting encouragement to jump in. Hampton ran a strong challenge to State Representative Ruth Ann Palumbo a few years ago. His name also resurfaced in connection with the 2006 mayor’s race… but he ultimately didn’t run.
The district is heavily Democratic in registration and voting patterns. The Kentucky Republican Party would be in a position to significantly help finance their candidate this fall.
Since Scorsone’s withdrawal is coming late, there’s no time for a primary. The two parties’ executive committees will name their nominees in closed door sessions. It becomes the equivelant of a “smoke filled room” (except that Fayette County has an indoor smoking ban).
For Scorsone, it appears likely that he will get the governor’s appointment and would be an incumbent judge at the time of the election. Others can and may file before the August 12th deadline. Scorsone would have to run county-wide. His senate district makes up less than half the county.
WKYT 27 NEWSFIRST