Bowen to run for state senate

 Messenger-Inquirer reporter Steve Vied reported today that Owensboro Republican Joe Bowen, a former member of the Kentucky House of Representatives, has filed to run for the 8th District seat in the Kentucky Senate – the position now held by Democrat David Boswell.

Bowen, 59, was elected to the 13th District House seat in 2004 and served one term before being defeated by 408 votes by Jim Glenn in November of 2006. Glenn remains in that seat and is running for re-election.

Bowen is co-owner of Bowen Tire Co. of Owensboro.

“I do this because I think I can have a positive impact on public policy … as an advocate for our community,” Bowen said. “Owensboro and Daviess County and McLean County have missed opportunities too many times. We’ve been passed by.”

Bowen said if elected he will become a member of the Republican majority in the Senate, which will leave him is a good place to help the 8th District.

“When the economy turns around I’ll be well-positioned to make sure Owensboro is out front to benefit more than we have,” he said.

“We’ve been left behind. I think I can work to get the attention for Owensboro that’s been missing. I don’t think we’ve had the presence, we haven’t been on the inside of the maneuvering in Frankfort. Other legislators have had more clout and been able to channel more things to their communities. I think people want a fresh face, new eyes. We need a change. We can do better.”

Guthrie outspent Boswell in 2nd District race

Republican Brett Guthrie outspent David Boswell by nearly $400,000 in his successful run against the Sorgho Democrat in Kentucky’s 2nd Congressional this year.

Brett Guthrie

Brett Guthrie

Campaign finance reports filed within the last week show that Guthrie, a state senator from Bowling Green, shelled out $1.2 million during the campaign, with almost all of that spent since May. 

Boswell, also a state senator, spent $838,000 during the campaign cycle that included a primary victory over fellow Democrat Reid Haire, Daviess County judge-executive. 

Both candidates found themselves with outstanding debts at the close of the campaign finance reporting period, with Guthrie owing $30,000 in “win bonuses”  and Boswell with an $18,000 car loan from a Ford truck his campaign bought for him to use on the trail. 

Guthrie dished out $5,000 “win bonuses” to fellow state Sen. Richie Sanders, a friend who assisted during his campaign, to Mike Gula & Associates, a Washington-based fundraising firm, and to OnMessage Inc., a Maryland campaign media, strategy and survey firm. Continue reading

Boswell weighing options, with retirement a possibility

State Sen. David Boswell said Tuesday that a retirement window closing at the end of the year has him weighing his options for the future. 

Boswell has two years remaining on his fifth term in the Kentucky Senate and mounted an unsuccessful run to represent Kentucky’s 2nd District in Congress next year. Boswell, a Sorgho Democrat, lost to fellow state senator and Bowling Green Republican Brett Guthrie on Nov. 4.

David Boswell

David Boswell

“The election has nothing to do with it,” Boswell said about his future plans. “What this is all about – it has to do with my family and my future and my retirement benefits.”

Boswell said there will be a significant decrease in his retirement benefits if he waits until after Jan. 1 2009 to retire.

After the first of the year, Boswell and other state employees will see the basis of their retirement benefits change from the average of their highest three years of compensation to the average from their highest five years. 

As a state legislator, and one who was first elected to the General Assembly in the late 1970s, Boswell will enjoy one of the highest “multipliers” to determine his retirement benefits. The multiplier is used along with years of service and salary rates to determine the benefit rate.

Along with 18 years in the Kentucky Senate, Boswell spent four years as state agriculture commission in the 1980s and three terms in the state House beginning in 1978 for a total of 28 years in state government. 

Boswell was sales and marketing director for the Executive Inn Rivermont in Owensboro until it closed June 9 after new owners took over. 

Although he said he was considering retirement, Boswell said he hasn’t given “a whole lot of thought to it.” While retirement is an option, so is completing his current term and running for additional terms, Boswell said. 

“That’s about all the comment I have to make on it,” Boswell said.

Open seat(s) in the Kentucky Senate

The Herald-Leader’s Larry Dale Keeling weighs in on “a tale of two state Senate vacancies” in a column this week and compares the post-election talk now and last year over open seats in the chamber. 

Keeling reminds readers that Senate President David Williams called for then-Sen. Dan Mongiardo, now lieutenant governor, to resign from the chamber before this year’s legislative session began. 

That move would have prompted a special election to fill Mongiardo’s seat in eastern Kentucky earlier than if Mongiardo waited until the inauguration to resign, which he did. 

Keeling notes that Williams has been publicly silent so far about when Sen. Brett Guthrie, a Bowling Green Republican, should resign after his election last week as the state’s next 2nd District congressman, and Guthrie hasn’t been forthcoming about when he plans to turn over the seat. 

Guthrie has said since his election that he will be talking to Williams about when to resign. 

Earlier this year, Williams said he was actually expecting to fill two seats in the Senate following the 2nd District election that pitted Guthrie against fellow state Sen. David Boswell, a Sorgho Democrat. 

Williams predicted a Guthrie win and a Boswell retirement following the Nov. 4 election.

Boswell has been in state government for nearly 30 years, including a stint as state agriculture commissioner, and Williams said Boswell could earn a higher pension if he retires before the end of the year when pension system changes go into effect. Continue reading

Wesley Clark makes last minute pitch for funds in KY-2

Former Democratic presidential candidate and retired Gen. Wesley Clark made a “last minute plea” on his blog for supporters to send funds to races in the Kentucky 2nd, New York 29th and Illinois 10th districts. 

On the Web site for his political action committee, WesPac, Clark on Monday night wrote that he had received an “urgent note” from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for help in the three districts. 

In the Kentucky 2nd, where Democrat David Boswell is facing Republican Brett Guthrie of Bowling Green, Boswell needs money to help with last-minute “get out the vote” operations, Clark wrote. 

“This is a tough district that George Bush carried handily, but the most recent polling shows David with a very slim lead,” Clark wrote. “To win, he needs to make sure all the new voters coming out to the polls for the presidential election, vote down the ballot and check David’s name.”

LA Times: Conservative Dems make headway in GOP districts

Richard Simon with the Los Angeles Times has examined the trend this year of conservative Democrats making a move in U.S. House districts that are “traditional GOP strongholds.”

One of those identified by Simon in his article Saturday is David Boswell, the Sorgho Democrat running in Kentucky’s 2nd District for the seat held by Republican Ron Lewis for 14 years. 

Simon cites a Boswell ad that pegs the state senator as pro-life, pro-gun and against higher taxes, a campaign slogan being used by many conservative Dems this year. 

Check it out.

2nd District race a toss-up down the stretch

The two candidates for Kentucky’s 2nd Congressional District seat returned to Owensboro this week, making stops at the same locations where they delivered stump speeches months before.

Since those stops earlier in the campaign cycle, the contest between Democrat David Boswell and Republican Brett Guthrie has evolved into a high-dollar battle drawing attention and money from around the country.

First lady Laura Bush will campaign for Guthrie in Bullitt County’s Shepherdsville on Monday, and Boswell was by the side of former President Clinton during a stop in Bowling Green.

Poll results and political predictions in recent weeks have made it difficult to peg the winner, who will replace retiring U.S. Rep. Ron Lewis, a Cecilia Republican, in Congress next year.

“I think it’s a genuine tossup,” said Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. “Frankly, it’s been kind of confusing. I’m also getting two wildly different stories from the two major parties.” Continue reading