Jim King Update: Damage Control?

We reported yesterday that Democratic Louisville Metro Councilman Jim King attended a fundraiser for Mitch McConnell the evening prior.

After taking some heat, it appears, Councilman King has said he does not support McConnell or the war in Iraq.

King now says he was present at the event (without contributing) because three of his friends/business partners were there. And because he wanted to discuss airport funding. Definitely a reason King would want to be around McConnell. But at a Republican-held and Republican-sponsored fundraiser publicized by McConnell’s campaign? That’s more than a little dangerous politically.

There are far better methods of communicating with Kentucky’s Washington core that are far less controversial for a Democratic official soon to be up for re-election.

See what King had to say in his e-mailed statement released to Page One after the jump:

“While it is true that I attended the event, I did not contribute to Senator McConnell nor will I. I was invited to the fundraiser by three close friends, and I attended at their request. I actually saw it as an opportunity to have a face to face with the Senator regarding my efforts to have the FAA implement its Part 150 study to move primary air traffic to the west runway at Louisville International Airport. Currently, most air traffic is directed to the east runway which impacts several neighborhoods in the district I represent. I only accepted the invitation to talk briefly with Senator McConnell about this and other concerns related to my district, not to support in any way his efforts for reelection. Because of the anti-war protestors outside (which by the way I made no effort to avoid) , I took the opportunity to ask the Senator to end the war.” (emphasis ours)

The release went on to say that King raised $20,000 for Steve Beshear, the details of which do not really impact this story.

Regarding the emphasis: As we reported, King and others made every effort to avoid war protesters who were present. There were at least 25 witnesses. All lighting on the property was turned off as guests left, requiring the use of flashlights. And to further press this issue, Mark Hebert reports via Gregg Wagner (one of the protesters) that King walked by refusing to answer questions about why he was there. Something a skilled politician like Councilman King could have answered and resolved on the spot and with ease.

We’re glad King has decided to clear the air but he should have done so early yesterday morning when given the chance. The story has now unfolded in a way that everyday observers see King’s movement as good old fashioned C-Y-A after appearing (appearances are sometimes everything) to be supportive by attending a fundraiser.

2 thoughts on “Jim King Update: Damage Control?

  1. I know how lame it is to comment on such an old post but there is more to this story. One of the protesters that evening was the mother of a West Point graduate who was serving as an infantry platoon leader in Iraq at the time. She was outraged that a democratic leader would be present at a McConnell fundraiser while McConnell was serving as Bush’s chief apologist for the war. King heard about her from one of the many people who contacted him about this. He requested that she call him so he could apologize. He explained to her that he wasn’t up to speed on the goings-on in Iraq because he was too concerned with local issues to pay attention. He asked her if there was anything he could do to show his sincerity, and she asked him to attend a seminar about the war at Bellarmine the following week. He agreed and failed to show up. This was about two weeks before the election for Metro Council president, so his frantic attempts at damage control lasted until he was duly enthroned.

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