FRANKFORT — Some Democratic officials from coal-producing states plan to boycott this year's national party convention because of discontent with President Obama's energy policies.
But Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said Friday he will support Obama as the party nominee at the national convention Sept. 3 through 6 in Charlotte, N.C.
That's a mistake, said Kentucky Republican Party Chairman Steve Robertson.
"This is a president who has declared war on coal. Kentucky's elected officials will have to answer whether they support Obama or Kentucky," Robertson said.
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Republicans were active last week in playing the blame-Obama game with the news that Arch Coal will lay off nearly 600 Kentucky miners in several counties and 150 from a mine in West Virginia.
Meanwhile, Arch Coal cited "a continuing decline in demand" in a difficult business environment for its decision to idle several Kentucky mines effective Aug. 20.
Several reports said more layoffs are expected in the nation's coalfields because a warm winter led to a huge stockpile of coal nationwide and a reduced need for mining this summer.
Robertson said Obama's enforcement of stringent regulations is the reason for the layoffs.
He said Kentucky Democratic officials should follow the example of neighboring party colleagues, including Democratic West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, and skip the Democratic presidential convention in protest.
That is ridiculous, state Democratic Party spokesman Matt Erwin said. Erwin said no one has informed Kentucky Democratic Party officials that he or she will bypass the party convention because of Obama.
He said every Democratic delegate representing Kentucky will support the Democratic ticket, Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
Delegates from Kentucky representing Democrats and Republicans are ready for their party conventions.
Retired Lexington attorney George Mills is headed to the Democratic National Convention as a delegate "because I want to support President Obama. He has brought this country back."
Mills is one of 73 Kentuckians to be delegates at the Democratic National Convention.
The state Democratic Party will have six alternates at the convention and two pages to assist delegates on the convention floor.
The state Republican Party is sending 45 delegates and 42 alternates to the GOP National Convention, Aug. 27 through 30 in Tampa Bay, Fla.
Robertson said all of those delegates' votes will go to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and his unnamed running mate.
Lois Ann Disponett-Hyatt of Lawrenceburg said she is looking forward to being a Republican delegate.
"I'm interested in being a delegate simply because I'm interested in what the future will hold for my 17-year-old daughter," the real estate businesswoman said of her daughter, Anna-Marie Hyatt.
Robertson and Erwin said delegates and alternates will pay their own way to the conventions.