BREAKING: Thieneman Drops out, Endorses Yarmuth

It’s true, folks. Chris Thieneman just announced via the Francene show on 84WHAS radio that he is dropping out of the Congressional race and endorsing John Yarmuth.

Stay tuned to this developing story.

UPDATE @ 11:30:

Joe Gerth has more on the story.

Developer Chris Thieneman said this morning that he is dropping out of the 3rd District Republican primary, becoming a Democrat and endorsing Rep. John Yarmuth’s re-election bid in the race.

Both Northup and McConnell have denied trying to influence Thieneman.

As proof of that coercion, Thieneman played a voice mail message from Larry Cox, McConnell’s top aide in Kentucky, in which Cox urged Thieneman to call him.

Stay tuned for Rick’s update and interview with Chris later today.

Breaking: Ron Lewis Dropped Out

For realz. Republican Ron Lewis just DROPPED OUT of the KY-02 House Race.

WHAT on earth!?

That leaves two Democrats and two Republicans.

  • David E. Boswell – Democrat
  • Reid Haire – Democrat
  • Daniel London – Republican
  • S. Brett Guthrie – Republican

So… looks like Kentucky’s second congressional district will land in Democratic hands in 2008. Not even Daniel London, Lewis’s Chief of Staff, can pull this one off.

UPDATE: Jim Pence must be jumping for joy right now.

Whitfield Gets an Opponent

A familiar face at that. Heather Ryan, the young woman who videotaped her encounter with Sen. Mitch McConnell in Paducah just days ago has announced her candidacy against the First U.S. Congressional District’s Ed Whitfield (Republican).

While Heather may not have a shot in the dark, it’s always nice when any a politician draws opposition. Allowing a candidate to run unopposed is a bad move in our book.

How do you feel about it? What’s your take? Does this remove any shred of credibility Ryan had in her claims against McConnell? Will it be chalked up to a publicity stunt? And what makes her qualified to receive our support?

We’d like to hear what you have to say.

Thieneman and Francene Take on the Party

UPDATE 11:20 A.M. — Thieneman called back to respond to the show’s comments — and confirm that he was threatened by Northup through Seum. “I called it a threat because that’s what it was, a threat.” He called the party leaders, in particular Jack Richardson, “unethical.” Republicas who deny their threats are “lying.”

The conversation is lively this morning on Francene’s radio show on WHAS, where the radio host tried to pin some prominent Republicans down on their recent actions:

Jack Richardson, chairman of Louisville’s Republican party, called in to respond to Chris Thieneman‘s charges that folks in the Anne Northup and Mitch McConnell camps discouraged him from running. Thieneman charged that some Republicans were telling him not to run for the 3rd District Congressional seat now occupied by Dem. Rep. John Yarmuth.

Richardson ran into a hailstorm of criticism from the radio show host when he said the party does indeed discourage some candidates from running in primaries. Francene, rightly, thinks that’s the wrong way to operate, that anyone who wants to run in a primary should not face opposition from the party hierachy.

“You don’t know the political system that well, because you always want to put forth the best people,” Richardson said.

Read moreThieneman and Francene Take on the Party

Thieneman: “Puppet for the People”

The way Chris Thieneman sees it, the 144,000 votes against the library tax last fall were, in reality, votes of support for him. So he’s decided that a run for the District 14 Metro Council seat isn’t a big enough deal, and he’s put both feet in for the 3rd District U.S. Congressional race, no matter what Anne Northup does between now and the filing deadline.

Thieneman held a press conference this morning at a bingo hall in Highview, a place where the working folks buy into his campaign themes of limiting taxes and fighting special interests. He was introduced, in fact, as “The Tax Slayer” by David Toborowsky, a long-time supporter and health care expert who until recently worked in state government.

With three TV cameras looking on, Thieneman laid out his plans for the race, saying he’s fighting against all the special interests, including the establishment folks behind the library tax, which he claims incumbent John Yarmuth represents. It’s almost as if Thieneman has already written off those high-profile locals who supported the library tax, betting his anti-tax coalition will overcome and outnumber any resistance. Money, he said, isn’t as big an issue as the real issues – like the mortgage crisis that he says has killed his homebuilding business.

In order to avoid that kind of obligation to monied interests, he said he wouldn’t be raising a lot of money.

“I’m not going to be a puppet for those people,” he said. “I’m going to be a puppet for the people.”

Read moreThieneman: “Puppet for the People”

Yarmuth vs. Northup, Again?

That didn’t take long.

Hours after Erwin Roberts announced his candidacy for the 3rd District Congressional Seat is in jeopardy because of his obligation to military service, Anne Northup seems poised to jump in the race for the seat she lost in 2006.

The C-J’s Joe Gerth reports that Roberts, who had the support of Northup, learned he might be called to active duty over the weekend. When Northup heard about it, she called advisor Ted Jackson and started thinking about the race.

Across the Ohio River,  Republican Mike Sodrel is gearing up for a fourth race against incumbent Baron Hill. Sodrel won that seat in 2004, but lost to Hill in 2006. Those two seem ready to go after each other every other year.

By floating the idea with the press, you get the feeling that Northup likes the idea of taking on Yarmuth in another battle.

Uncle Steve Wants You

Give Me An Idea, Any Idea: In that “pleasant” State of the Union speech, you might have caught Gov. Steve Beshear asking citizens for help in solving the state’s budget crisis. He really, really wants someone, anyone, to come up with an idea of two to save money, so much so that he’s taped a video message targeting state workers. It’s part of the Innovation, Economy and Efficiency team in the Finance Cabinet.  I’ve got one: Don’t hire back people you’ve already fired once.  The Governor’s honeymoon ends in 13 days, when he must deliver his budget.

Take the Fight: A Courier-Journal editorial says Beshear’s speech had one good aspect — it was non-confrontational. It wasn’t a compliment. Confrontation is coming, we’re assured. In another piece, David Hawpe says Beshear needs to get political, to jump in and get a Democrat elected in Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo‘s old district. Hawpe says it’s time the Gov gets involved in the Senate race against Mitch McConnell, pointing to a poll that shows the senior Senator soundly whipping anyone the Democrats might put up.

More After the Jump:  

Read moreUncle Steve Wants You