Politics & Government

Several state lawmakers battling for leadership posts

FRANKFORT — The general election is over, but several state lawmakers are still scrambling for votes.

Legislators must choose their leaders when they return to Frankfort on Jan. 4, and a handful of contested races remain up for grabs.

The five House Democratic leaders will not seek re-election as a slate, said Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg. "Each leader decided to go on his own," he said.

Former Speaker Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green, has been seeking votes to displace House Speaker Pro Tem Larry Clark of Louisville. Rep. Tommy Thompson of Owensboro is seeking a leadership position, most likely that of majority whip, a post now held by John Will Stacy of West Liberty.

For House Republican leadership, Danny Ford of Mount Vernon has been mentioned as a challenger to Minority Whip David Floyd of Bardstown. Meanwhile, Brad Montell of Shelbyville and Jim DeCesare of Rockfield are eying the role of minority caucus chair, held by Bob DeWeese of Louisville.

While Senate Republicans voted shortly after the November general election to keep their leadership team, Senate Democrats met recently to choose their leaders but could not reach a consensus. They are now expected to vote on the first day of the legislative session.

In the first vote, Sens. Julian Carroll of Frankfort and R.J. Palmer of Winchester each got seven votes to replace Ed Worley of Richmond as minority leader. Worley did not seek re-election to the Senate.

Only Senate Minority Caucus Chair Johnny Ray Turner of Drift got a majority of votes in his caucus election.

Sen. Joey Pendleton of Hopkinsville has expressed an interest in replacing Jerry Rhoads of Madisonville as minority whip.