Heather French Henry says she's being encouraged to run for Senate

jbrammer@herald-leader.comMay 21, 2013 

FRANKFORT — Former Miss America Heather French Henry of Louisville said Tuesday night that public and private figures are encouraging her to run for the U.S. Senate next year, but she is "not ready to confirm or deny" that possibility.

"I am completely honored that people are talking to me about this but I have made no decision," she said.

French Henry, a Democrat, is married to former Lt. Gov. Steve Henry.

French Henry said she could support Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes as the Democratic nominee against incumbent Mitch McConnell in next year's U.S. Senate race. Grimes has said she is considering the race but has not yet decided.

If French Henry runs, the Miss America 2000 could expect questions about her husband's political career.

In December 2009, Steve Henry accepted a plea deal in Franklin Circuit Court for three misdemeanors related to misusing campaign resources during his failed 2007 run in the Democratic primary for governor.

He was sentenced to a $500 fine and $156 in court costs, plus 12 months in jail, with the jail time suspended on the condition that Henry avoid further criminal problems for two years.

In 2003, while he was lieutenant governor, Henry agreed to pay $162,000 to settle a federal lawsuit alleging he defrauded the Medicaid and Medicare programs as an orthopedic surgeon.

And after Henry's 2000 marriage to French, the state auditor found that 25 state employees used 500 hours of their personal leave, valued at $16,000, to work on the wedding. The Henrys agreed to reimburse the state $3,200 for wedding expenses and $4,300 for trips that Henry took to the Democratic National Convention and the Miss America Pageant.

Other Democrats who have said they might or will run for McConnell's seat include former state Democratic Party Chairman Bill Garmer, a Lexington attorney; environmental attorney Tom FitzGerald of Louisville; Owensboro contractor Ed Marksberry; and Louisville musician and music promoter Bennie J. Smith.

Jack Brammer: (859) 231-1302. Twitter: @BGPolitics. Blog: bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com

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