Wednesday, January 17, 2007

14. Wait for the Midnight Hour

Well, it's been an interesting day here in the Bluegrass State, as least as far as politics goes. For the first time that I can ever remember, there are more Republicans running for governor than Democrats, although that is very likely to change between now and January 30 at 4:00 pm, the "midnight" hour for filing.

Actually, there was a time when the filing deadline was at midnight. I can remember a few occassions when I was quite young of making my way to the Old Court House on Jefferson Street [the one the Mayor calls Metro Hall] and seeing who would stream in to file at the last minute. Mary Ann Ryan ran the office at that time. It was in a small room off of the southeast wall of what is now the Deed Room on the 2nd Floor. Incidentally, Jefferson's Old Court House doesn't have any odd-numbered floors. There is the Basement which isn't a basement at all, but the ground level; the 2nd Floor, which houses the Deed Room among other things; the 4th Floor, where the Mayor of the Louisville-Jefferson County Metro holds forth, deciding which ribbons to cut and where the begonias would best look; and the attic, which is the 6th floor, another huddle of administrative offices serving at the pleasure of the L-JCMM.

Sometime back, the dealine was changed to 4:00 pm. Names such as former Jefferson County Judge Louis J. "Todd" Hollenbach, III, and John Young Brown, III come to mind as those who filed their papers in the so-called nick of time. Maybe it has something to do with that "III" behind their names. Maybe not. On the occassions where I was a candidate, I filed earlier rather than later. I thought it might help. It didn't.

As mentioned before, this year is a Statewide year. Filings occur in the Secretary of State's office, on the "Louisville" end of the 1st floor of the State Capital in Frankfort. The Louisville end is also the Senate end, if you are on the 3rd floor. No senators filed for anything today, but one probably will. Many years ago, legislators ran for office in odd-numbered years as do statewide offices. This meant if they wanted to run for a statewide office, more likely than not (as 119 of the state's 138 legislators are on the ballot every other year) they had to give up their coveted legislative seat. Many weren't willing to do so. So, controlling the power of the pen, they rewrote the laws to allow for a vote moving their respective elections to the even numbered years, and thus availing themselves of the opportunity to seek statewide office with their incumbency unencumbered by such a move. How thoughtful.

The prominent (and apparently only) filing today was that of former congresswoman Anne Northup, a Republican of Louisville who just ten short weeks ago was defeated by John Yarmuth, the liberal-editor-turned-Louisville-pol, and her running mate State Representative Jeff Hoover, a Jamestown attorney who has served in the House since about the time Anne Northup left it to go to Washington. Anne Northup truly believes she can defeat a sitting governor. This Republican primary - replete with a Third Person wild card, a millionaire from Paducah named Billy Harper - should be most fun to watch, especially because otherwise we'll all be watching the bloodbath on our side of the aisle, once all the players get in. As a reminder, I am supporting the ticket of Jonathan Miller and Irv Maze.

While very few things in politics or statemanship are truly coincidental, sometimes the gods work in mysterious ways. There is no doubt that Mrs. Northup's strongest area will be in Jefferson and the surrounding counties. Oddly, Bullitt County, just to Jefferson's south, has had the tragic train derailment in the last two days, affording Governor Fletcher to legitimately be seen at such "Northup area" places as the Zoneton Fire Department on Preston Highway in north Bullitt, and the Okolona Christian Church, which the Red Cross used as a shelter, also facing Preston, a few miles south of Okolona. His presence there is appropriate as governor in all honesty and as a native of the area, I appreciate it. But it also can't help but help him in an area where he will surely need it in May.

In the down ballot races, little has changed as everyone is waiting on Greg Stumbo, either to declare for governor or for reelection as Attorney General. The waiting wings are filling up with those who will have decisions to make based on what the very able Attorney General decides to do. The State Treasurer's race picked up a former district judge who most recently lost a race in 2003 as a Republican. This year he is a Democrat. He has also ran for a few non-partisan offices. I'm not sure such a cavalier attitude toward party identification is a good quality when one goes choosing a candidate for office. The Treasurer's race also lost a good man, Steve Gold, Democrat of Henderson, whose day job is serving as an attorney. Gold has also served in the past as (Interim) Chair of the Kentucky Democratic Party. Someday, he and others his age will have to take up the mantle of seeking these down-ballot offices. Other names which have been mentioned for this office are former congressional candidate Col. Mike Weaver, Todd Hollenbach, IV (son to the above mentioned Louis J. the III), the brother of State Representative Joni Jenkins, and the recently re-elected and sans portfolio Jefferson County Judge/Executive Ken Herndon.

Again, the deadline is January 30, 2007 at 4:00 pm. Stay tuned.


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Anonymous said...

Ken wants a Metro Council seat pretty badly.

Not sure he'd try to run state-wide.

Unfortunately, there's a little issue that prevents him from ever winning a state office. Thankfully for us all, he lives in Louisville where he can win.

The Archives at Milepost 606


Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Never married, liberal Democrat, born in 1960, opinionated but generally pleasant, member of the Episcopal Church. Graduate of Prestonia Elementary, Durrett High, and Spalding University; the first two now-closed Jefferson County Public Schools, the latter a very small liberal arts college in downtown Louisville affiliated with the Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. My vocation and avocation is politics. My favorite pastime is driving the backroads of Kentucky and southern Indiana, visiting small towns, political hangouts, courthouses, churches, and cemeteries. You are welcome to ride with me sometime.