Exclusive: Michael Kelley to face Geoff Davis in KY-4

Davis not looking like such a shoo-in anymore?

Page One has learned there is a challenger for 4th District Congressman Geoff Davis (R), something that may surprise readers of the Kentucky Enquirer. In his Sunday column, Pat Crowley wrote that no candidate has stepped forward to face Rep. Davis in 2008. Specifically, “Kentucky Democrats struggle to even name any potential challengers to Davis.” We like Pat’s reporting, but we’ve learned Dr. Michael Kelley of Oldham County filed for 2008 candidacy just a few weeks ago, and is set to face Rep. Davis come the fall.

Side Note: Crowley reports Heather French Henry is the only name to surface as a potential challenger, despite, well, many factors. Sources say Henry has repeatedly informed Democratic Party insiders that she will not run for U.S. Congress for career-related reasons and, honestly, why would someone with as solid a career as the former Miss America give that up to run for office?

Our sources say Kelley will not be a candidate just for candidacy’s sake— he won’t be the sacrificial lamb— that he’ll have support similar to that of Ken Lucas in 2006. If you remember the horde of commercials purchased on behalf of Lucas (and the $1.5Million the FEC says he raised that year) you realize this could potentially be big bucks— and aid— for Kelley.

According to a contact at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, “Kelley will garner strong support from the state and national party because he’s not a career politician. He’s not your average hack from Halliburton. He has a simple plan that hits home with the voters and he connects with people on a personal level that career-types like Davis cannot.”

Kelley FamilyPage One sat down with Kelley earlier this month. We’d like to share a portion of the interview with more to come later in the year.

Michael Kelley, 41, is a family man and lifelong Kentuckian. He’s been married to his wife, Gretchen, for eleven years and they have four children together. Three daughters and one son, ages 5, 6, 9, and 10. He is a self-described country physician who graduated from the University of Louisville’s School of Medicine in 1993. In 1997 he joined a small medical practice and as a direct result has become concerned about the flaws in the American health care system. Dr. Kelley is also strongly opposed to Republican-led efforts to prolong the war in Iraq.

The cornerstones of Michael’s plan, which will be released in coming weeks, are as follows:

1. Get the troops out of Iraq — He says Bush and McConnell muddy the water and confuse troop job performance with military success. “They’re well-trained, good at what they do, but the solution to this war is political. The troop surge leaves us with a non-functional Iraqi government and there’s no evidence at this point that Iraq is willing to pull together and function as a nation instead of a bunch of religious factions.” Without being too specific here, he suggests we find the safest way to exit as quickly as possible.

2. Common sense approach to reforming health care — As a physician, Kelley believes we have a strong health care system with a couple major flaws. An unusually large percentage of adults in America (some 460,000 in Kentucky) are uninsured and cannot afford health care. He says we’re enormously wasteful as a nation — we spend mega millions on health care with little to no benefit. Kelley says, “There’s wasted money in health care expenditures that could be redirected to make care affordable for all Americans. Way too much money is spent on patented brand name drugs when excellent generic alternatives exist.”

3. Campaign finance reform — “We have a political system that’s broken. The reality of not being a serious candidate if you can’t raise millions of dollars is obscene.” Says Kelley. He has several points for making government representative of the voting populace through finance reform but we’ll leave the specifics for the reveal of his campaign platform. Suffice it to say, he believes the average voter is disenfranchised — viewing politics as corrupt and slimy. He says it’s time for a change.