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Kentucky's Own Destructive Force: Fletcher
It's looks like the State Supreme Court will finally decide Louisville's vacant 37th senate district. An election was held last year for the slot. Republican Dana Seum Stephenson (daughter of Majority Whip Dan Seum) got the most votes. Done deal right? Wrong. The Democratic candidate, Virginia Woodward filed a motion the day before the election to have Stephenson disqualified because she didn't meet the state residency requirements outlined in the state constitution.
The conflict comes from the fact the constitution also says the legislature, both house and senate can set the terms for candidates for the respective bodies. A big blowup ensued. The Senate put together a commission to investigate. Along party lines, the vote went and since there was one more Democrat than Republicans, the Dems won. So case over? Nope, not yet. When the Senate convened, they chose to swear in Stepheson, over the objections of the Democrats and recently converted Republican Senator Bob Leeper of Paducah (now an Independent). He recommended a special election to solve the problem, became rather emotional and left the proceedings.
The board of elections for Louisville and the state refused to certify Stephenson because she was declared ineligible for residency requirements, yet David Williams and the rest of the Republican opposition maintains Stephenson belongs in the Senate which brings us up to speed *WHEW*.
The State Supreme Court has discussed the issue but there's no time table for the ruling.
One issue Mark Nickolas brought up at the Bluegrass Report> was a possible conflict of interest by Chief Justice John Roach because Roach was Governor Fletcher's attorney and was involved with Fletcher when Fletcher donated some of his federal PAC money to Stephenson's campaign.
It's ugly but Stephenson will probably win on my initial thoughts. The best solution is a special election but if that's the case, the 37th will be without representation for another session. The smart thing would've been to decide the issue this summer and had a special election this fall, but that would've been too tough. Last spring, I talked to a number of Republican senators and many felt a special election would be the best answer.
posted by Stithmeister @ 10:20 PM
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Please correct me if i'm wrong: When this started, the national Republican party was in good shape, and the state Republican party - especially as represented by Governor Fletcher - was likewise in good odor. Could the fact that this was taken to a destructive deadlock, rather than a special election, be because the Republicans were sure that they could just bluff and bull this through to their liking?
And, now that the GOP has an image problem, and declining approval both state and nationwide, could it be that there are Republican state reps who NOW wish there had been a non-partisan, problem-solving special election?
i tend to over-cynic sometimes, and get too conspiratorial, but are their holes in this?
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I'm currently working in the telecomm industry but one of my passions is still politics.
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