With the 2011 state elections behind us, it is now time to look at the Kentucky Senate and House elections for 2012. The Senate can maintain or enlarge its super-majority and for the first time in decades, the House could come under Republican control.
These elections could serve as a great opportunity for a rise with conservatives. Or these elections could stay the same course in Kentucky and continue with the status quo. In the era of the Tea Party, I am hopeful that the former is the direction Frankfort takes.
If we conservatives truly want that, there is one thing that needs to happen. David Williams needs to step down as Senate president. He is the one major opposition for real conservatives to take roles in power positions.
In the 2011 primary, Williams was weak. He barely beat underfunded Tea Party conservative Phil Moffett. Had Moffett come on strong at the end of the primary and with a couple of additional weeks in hand to secure a few more funds, he would have beaten Williams. No question. Moffett overwhelmingly won in the Golden Triangle — the four biggest cities with the most active Tea Party groups.
The general election was a complete Williams disaster and damaged the Republican Party. In the 11th hour, Williams put together a reasonably conservative platform for tax reform and other proven economic development strategies, such as a right-to-work law and prevailing wage reform. Even with these solid policy reforms, he was dusted by 21 points.
Why? Because Williams hasn't been talking about these reforms in his whole 20-plus year tenure in the Senate. Some may argue that Kentucky rejected Williams' newfound conservatism because they simply didn't believe him. Some may argue that Kentucky rejected Williams because he's not "likable." It doesn't matter. Kentucky rejected Williams.
If Williams remains as Senate president — the face of Kentucky's Republican Party — good conservative candidates will be beaten easily by status-quo liberals and RINOs (Republicans in name only). He should step down or his peers should force him out.
Ask yourself, how can we expect Williams to successfully lead a truly conservative Senate when his record is so terribly non-conservative?
On Wednesday, the Senate Republican caucus will meet and it's rumored that this may come up. Will any of Williams' peers have the courage to suggest this? Do Frankfort Republicans really believe a new direction is the right way to go? There are so many senators who feel this same way. Will any of them take on the "Bully from Burkesville"? For the sake of the party, I hope they do.
Section 85 of Kentucky's Constitution allows the Senate to elect a new president if a vacancy exists. It's time for Senate membership — conservative Democratic and Republican alike — to remove Williams. If Williams will not resign, they need to vote to make the seat vacant and then vote to fill it as Section 85 allows.
The constitution does not speak to how the Senate presidency can be made vacant. Members of the Senate must take advantage of this opening to put Kentucky on a more prosperous course.