FRANKFORT — Another state senator has entered the race for president of the Kentucky Senate.
Senate Appropriations and Revenue Chairman Bob Leeper, an independent from Paducah who usually sides with Republicans, said Thursday that he will seek the position left vacant by the recent resignation of David Williams.
Williams, who had been Senate president since 2000, resigned last week to accept an appointment by Gov. Steve Beshear to a circuit judgeship in southern Kentucky.
Senate Majority Leader Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said last week that he hoped to run unopposed for Senate president.
Leeper, a chiropractor, said Thursday in a telephone interview that he has "no problems" with Stivers. "I just want to give members a choice."
If it had not been an open seat, Leeper said, he would not pursue it.
"I've always wanted to be more involved. This open seat provides me the opportunity to do this," he said.
Asked about his chances of becoming the next Senate president, Leeper said, "Chances are always good if you try."
Leeper, 53, has been a member of the Senate since 1991.
There are now 21 Republicans in the 38-member Senate. Republicans will add at least one more to their number in January because of the defeat Tuesday of Sen. Joey Pendleton, D-Madisonville.
Stivers, 50, a lawyer, could not be reached for comment Thursday. He has been in the Senate since 1997.
Stivers has the support of Senate President Pro Tem Katie Kratz Stine, R-Southgate. Stine said last week she would not seek the presidency herself.
Senate Republicans plan to hold a retreat in December to elect their leaders for the 2013 General Assembly.