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Just one day after the deadline for filing for the race for Shelby County’s new congressional district, six of the seven Republicans who want to serve in the in the 4th District showed up Saturday night for the Shelby County Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Day dinner.
Three of the five Republicans running for Shelbyville City Council also were on hand among a crowd of about 200 who munched on a buffet dinner and perspectives at Claudia Sanders Dinner House.
With incumbent Republican Brett Guthrie of the 2nd District getting a new territory, there figures to be plenty of curiosity about those who will be on the slate for the Primary Election in May.
The congressional candidates are a diverse group that include two county judge-executives, a math teacher, a consultant, a businessman and a state representative – all of them vying with Democrats William R. Adkins of Williamstown and Greg Frank of Corinth for a seat being vacated by 4-term Rep. Geoff Davis (R-Hebron).
Ryan Alessi, host of CN2’s nightly television talk show, Pure Politics, brought a camera
crew to film a segment of the event for his show because, he said, it was a good way to catch six of the seven Republican candidates in one place.
Only Marc Carey, an attorney from Sparta who filed Friday, was absent.
Those who did attend offered a variety of credentials and perspectives:
• Boone County Judge-Executive Gary Moore said the issues he was concerned with were balancing the budget, developing a simpler tax code and repealing Obama Care.
• Lewis County Judge-Executive Thomas Massie cited his issues as working to eliminate debt, revising the tax code and addressing energy concerns. “Our tax code is unfair; it’s full of loopholes and it punishes those who are trying to start a business,” he said. “And our energy policy is crippling our economy and putting our national security at risk.”
• Brian Oerther, a math teacher at an alternative school in La Grange, said his platform would stress God, family, hard work and individual responsibility.
• Crestwood businessman Walter Schumm said we need to reduce the role of government in the private sector, update the tax code and address the problem of excessive government spending.
• Kenton County consultant Tom Wurst, who is an author of three books, including Corporate Commonsense, said the No. 1 problem in the political arena today is the uneducated voter. “When you ask most people who they are going to vote for, they say, ‘Oh, I’m going to vote for my uncle Bob’s nephew’s friend,’ or something like that,” he said. “Most people have very little inkling of what the candidates stand for, and that explains the mess in [Washington] D.C. today.”
• State Rep. Alecia Webb-Edgington (R-Fort Wright), who is a former Kentucky State Police officer and state Homeland Security director, blasted federal and state spending practices. “They have spent three hundred and thirty thousand dollars to study the effects of cocaine on the mating habits of quail,” she said. “And I can tell you that I have hauled in my share of drug dealers, but I have yet to see a drug-dealing quail. So I say, as long as they ignore the basic common sense aspects of balancing the budget, then we should ignore their salaries.”
Incumbent city council member Jon Swindler, who is in his third term, talked about the growth of the Republican Party in Shelby County, saying that he remembered the first Lincoln Day Dinner at the Stratton Center had 14 people in attendance and was a pot- luck affair.
“We’ve come a long way from that,” he said, glancing around Claudia Sanders Dinner House at the large crowd being attended by servers in formal attire.
Business owner Bob Andriot told the crowd he wanted to run for city council to make a difference in the community. Andriot said he wanted to take part in the leadership to help Shelbyville become “the heart of Kentucky.”
Business owner Stephen Cohn said he is making his first foray into the political arena because “our current leadership is good but not great.”
Republican city council candidates architect Robert Burry and Frank Page were also scheduled to speak, but they did not attend.
Seven Democrats also have filed for the office and face a primary in May to trim on candidate.
Praise for Montell
Otherwise, the event was a celebration of the Republican movement in Shelby.
Guest speaker Mandy Connell, radio talk show host at WHAS-AM (840), applauded Rep. Brad Montell’s (R-Shelbyville) work with charter schools.
“I am so tired of seeing kids fail in school, especially in Jefferson County,” she said.
Shelby County Republican Chair Jennifer Decker said she was pleased with the turnout, both from the public and the candidates.
“It has been a really good evening,” she said.