Rumors on the Internets

More Crit Luallen for Senate rumors. She’s giving her non-denial smile to reporters these days when asked if she’ll run. And our source with the DSCC stands firm on what they’ve previously told us. We still hear money’s promised (as we reported here last month) and that she’ll receive preferential support.

Several people have told us over the past two weeks that Jack Conway is being readied to run for Jim Bunning’s seat in 2010. Couple this rumor with the fact that Ben Chandler has no desire to leave his cakewalk of a job and some ears are perking up all across the state.

Gov. Mark Warner will be in Louisville on October 30th for a lunchtime fundraiser hosted by Bruce Lunsford and a few others. The fundraiser– which is scheduled to take place at swanky restaurant Proof– will benefit Warner’s bid for U.S. Senate.

Many continue to trumpet stories of Heather French Henry running against Davis in KY-4. Beyond the fact that she’s a working mother and has said she won’t run: We don’t see her being able to escape her husband’s very real legal troubles. Or her own. And she has, you know, absolutely no experience beyond running a museum dedicated to her beauty pageant past.

WHAS/WTVQ Gubernatorial Debate Highlights

Same boring crap. Nothing new. Ernie Fletcher stumbled a bunch and appeared visibly frustrated. Steve Beshear performed like always, scripted, nothing risky, maintaining the status quo.

Only one really funny moment from the entire evening: Ernie calls Steve out for wearing camouflage in his bird hunting commercial when, well, he should have been wearing day-glo orange or something. Strange: all of our gays have been writing in to say Beshear is totally posing. For real. The gays. The hunters haven’t said a thing. We think it’s hilarious and is a good reason for candidates to stop with the hunting bit in campaign commercials.

Congrats on that turkey, Gubnuh. Glad you’re doing the liberal organic thing these days. We just buy ours at Kroger. Oh– we hear you shot it out-of-season. Is this true?

Speaking of the gays: Ernie says gay couples already have the same legal protections as heterosexual couples. What on earth? Didn’t Ernest Lee remove protections for state employees from discrimination against sexual orientation on “Diversity Day”? The man receives a question from a gay voter asking what he can expect and Ernie trashes him. Go figure. Beshear, on the other hand, says no one should be discriminated against and specifically mentions sexual orientation. (He must not realize that voting for the marriage amendment is a form of discrimination?)

Derby of Gubernatorial Race

Kentucky’s Jim Waters has a feature story about the non-race between Ernie Fletcher and Steve Beshear in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal. Guess the entire country really is paying attention to the Bluegrass these days.

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Kentucky Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher should have been a shoe-in for re-election this year. Four years ago he won the governorship in a walk, after serving six years as a popular congressman. He’s an ex-fighter pilot, ex-Baptist minister and a very strong campaigner.

But as voters prepare to head to the polls in a little more than two weeks, there is a political horse race underway here in Kentucky. And thanks to a nagging political scandal, it’s Gov. Fletcher who is trailing. One recent poll found him behind Democrat Steve Beshear by 16 points.

Monday Morning Propaganda

Still on strike. Hundreds of nurses at Appalachian Regional Healthcare hospitals are still fighting for their voice. They’re heading for their third meeting with company officials in hopes of ending their strike. [H-L]

Using religion as a wedge issue. Ernie gets excited, freaks out over the Ten Commandments, tries to scare Henderson residents into believing Steve Beshear hates God, Jesus, babies. [Gleaner]

C-J calls spineless Democrats out for caving to Mitch McConnell and George W. Bush on health care for children. “If the House Democrats are who they claim to be, they won’t let George W. Bush push them, and needy children, around on this issue.” [C-J]

More gambling. Ernie just can’t get off his anti-gambling kick, runs through Ashland preaching the evils of casinos. And he’s still bitter over his merit hiring scandal– blaming Greg Stumbo every chance he gets. [Daily Independent]

Flip-flopping? Ernie changes his mind, now believes equine feed and supplies should be tax-free. Something Fletcher supporters used to attack Beshear. [WLEX18]

Mitch McConnell’s stance on SCHIP is pretty wide, isn’t it? He’s being criticized again. Can’t have your cake and eat it too. [PolWatchers]

Sen. Mongiardo is being praised for his experience in and passion for health care. The AP says he’s still engaged to Allison Patrick, though we hear that’s no longer the case. Speaking of Mongiardo: Where is he? Put him in a commercial or two! Bring him out of hiding. [AP via H-L]

Doing what’s right. John Yarmuth stands up for free speech and freedom of the press. Continuing to give us the right to protect your anonymity when you forward us private e-mails and dish the dirt about political happenings or office-paid vacations for an elected official’s mistress. [C-J]

Republicans for Beshear. Tons of Republicans showed up in Corbin this weekend to stand in support of Democrats Steve Beshear, Daniel Mongiardo and Bruce Hendrickson. Not good news for Fletcher in former Republican strong-holds. [H-L]

More endorsements. Kentucky Enquirer endorses Steve Beshear and pokes fun of his lack of a plan if gambling should fail. And the Kentucky Post endorses him. Doesn’t look like Northern Kentucky’s in the bag for Ernie anymore. [Enquirer, Post]

Dick Murgatroyd & Ethics Charges

Former Deputy Secretary of the Transportation Cabinet Dick Murgatroyd has been hit with ten counts of violating the state ethics code in relation to the merit hiring probe by the Executive Branch Ethics Commission.

Ernie Fletcher has paraded around Kentucky declaring that his hiring practices weren’t illegal or political. Looks like that claim is effectively shot to hell with this latest news.

Oh snap, Ernest Lee. Another crony is potentially up a creek.

C-J Endorses Grayson, Luallen, Hollenbach

No real surprises here. But some definite and unintentional funnies.

The Courier-Journal’s endorsement of Trey Grayson for Secretary of State makes more sense than the Post’s. While the paper endorses Grayson they chide him for avoiding voter receipts/paper trails.

The good stuff is inside the endorsements for Auditor and Treasurer.

The C-J picks Crit Luallen over Linda Greenwell, calling her “a loser last time out in this race” who “was totally outclassed by Ms. Luallen in their recent debate.”

And Todd Hollenbach gets the nod for Treasurer over Melinda Wheeler. Wheeler is referred to as a “retired bureaucrat” who wants it both ways. They rightfully bring up her shady involvement in the destruction of Jefferson County court records and say she’s had her chance.

Notes on the Ethics Case

We thought it’d be nice to point out something many in the press seem to be ignoring: the Executive Branch Ethics Commission is composed of four members who were all appointed by Ernie Fletcher. All of them. And it’s reasonable to believe they’re biased political allies of Fletcher’s.

How could there not be a strong appearance of bias? The Chairman, John Webb, testified before the Grand Jury in the merit hiring probe. That’s kind of a big deal.

Two Commission members publicly pledged to recuse themselves (John Quentin Wesley and Edward Patrick Moores) from any decision related to the merit hiring ordeal because of the outward appearance of bias. It’s a big enough deal for them to back off.

But Ronald Green, the newest member of the Commission, has refused to recuse himself. He was one of two special justices appointed by Fletcher when he took the Grand Jury’s authority to task before the state Supreme Court.

Interesting, eh? Two members say they don’t want to play the game. Mr. Webb testified before the Grand Jury. And Ernie’s right hand (Mr. Green) doesn’t believe there’s an appearance of bias. All four members are Republicans. They regularly contribute to Republican candidates. And they want to use an anonymous complaint to dig at the AG’s office for holding Ernie Fletcher responsible for his actions. And all this isn’t questioned by the media?

One would think based on the court’s decision (see it here) that it would tell the Ethics Commission to disappear. Nope. Not the case. After the court told the Ethics Commission (paraphrasing) that they’re doing some crazy junk and should get a grip, Judge Wingate gave the a-okay. They’re now meeting behind closed doors to discuss the contents of an anonymous complaint to which no one had the balls to sign their name.

Could the odor of Fletcher’s desperation get any more pungent?