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Democratic Bus Tour comes to Shelby Thursday

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Candidates take outdoor event inside because of inclement weather

By Lisa King

Instead of stumping to a crowd of people strolling through Veterans’ Park on a lazy autumn afternoon, a bus full of Democratic candidates seeking statewide office ended up making their platform in the basement of the Shelby County Courthouse, out of the rain and gusting wind.

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A small crowd of about 25 people crowded into the hallway outside the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday afternoon, and most of them were candidates and courthouse employees. Maybe half of them were from the public, including Democratic magistrates Tony Carriss and Hubie Pollett.

The visit from statewide Democratic candidates was part of a bus tour that began rolling recently, and everyone was there – except incumbent Gov. Steve Beshear.

Those who addressed the gathering included Jack Conway, Adam Edelen, Allison Lundergran Grimes and Robert Farmer.

Jerry Abramson, former Louisville mayor who is running for lieutenant governor, was the master of ceremonies, introducing each candidate, and he gave Beshear a big build-up, too.

 “He’s been working to create jobs, and he has brought us through some tough economic times,” Abramson said.

Attorney General Conway, who also is running for re-election against Republican Todd P’Pool, talked about measures his office was taking to combat crime, including helping to reduce child pornography on the Internet.

“We will continue to dispense justice as the largest public law-enforcement agency in Kentucky,” he said.

Adam Edelen, who is running for state auditor against two candidates, spoke briefly, as did ag commissioner candidate Farmer, opposed by Republican Jamie Comer, and Grimes, who is facing Republican Bill Johnson.

Grimes punctuated her short speech with a great deal of bounding about the confined space, creating a pep-rally like atmosphere.

“We want all Democrats to go out and vote,” she said.

Former Gov. Martha Layne Collins, even though she was not campaigning, also got into the act. As the last speaker, she urged all residents to vote on Nov. 8.

“There are only 19 days left until Election Day, and I urge everyone to get out and vote,” she said. “It’s important to get this ticket elected.”

Cindy Green and her son, Austin Green, were two people who braved the nasty weather to get a chance to hear the candidates and meet them afterward.

“It’s always exciting to hear them speak,” she said. “It’s good to get their message out, and I think it encourages voter turnout because when you get to meet them, and see and experience their enthusiasm, it makes you realize that voting is a voice for democracy.”

Austin Green said he was also glad the tour stopped in Shelbyville.

“The Democratic slate looks really good this election, and it makes me feel good about the chances for a good turnout on Election Day,” he said.

Shelby County Democratic Chair Fielding Ballard III was his usual enthusiastic self as well.

“I really enjoy these events when people get a chance to meet the candidates,” he said. “It’s a good way for people to show their support, especially when they come out in weather like this,” he said, drawing his jacket more tightly together as he glanced outside at the leaves swirling in the gusting wind. “I’m pleased with the gathering.”