12:00am

Mon April 16, 2012
State Capitol

Legislative Rivalry Could Influence Elections

Kentucky lawmakers will begin a special session today that could become election fodder for legislative candidates on both sides of the aisle this fall. This is the seventh straight year lawmakers have gone into special session, which costs the state sixty thousand dollars a day to fund. And Democratic Governor Steve Beshear and Republican Senate President David Williams are locked in a stalemate over the state’s road plan template.

Williams wants Beshear to sign the template before his chamber passes the funding bill to go with it. This also would force lawmakers to be in special session at least seven days, instead of the minimum of five.

Beshear says he won’t sign the template until he’s reviewed it and has threatened to hit the campaign trail again if Williams delays.

“The Senate can stay here as long as it wants, but I can tell you this, if they stay here longer than the minimum amount of days just in order to put money in their pockets or to play political games, the people of this state this fall when elections roll around I think will let them know just how the feel about that,” Beshear says.

Half of the Senate’s thirty-eight seats are up for election this fall. And Beshear says he thinks Williams’ polarizing presence could become an issue in those races.

“You know this November, I’m sure he’ll be a political issue. He’ll probably be a political issue for both Democrats and Republicans. If I were a Republican right now I think I’d be running against him, just like a Democrat would be,” he says.

Beshear and Williams locked heads in last year's gubernatorial election, when Williams challenged Beshear's  re-election bid. Beshear won by 21 points.

Half of the Senate’s thirty-eight seats are up for election this fall. It’s uncertain how many seats Democrats can win, but even a net gain of one seat would deny Republicans their current supermajority in the Senate.