Choosing sides in House leadership races

While many Americans look toward Election Day on Nov. 4 as the airwaves fill with ads and candidates refine their stump speeches, another election coming next year has many in Kentucky politics just as interested.

Following a legislative session this spring that left many lawmakers frustrated, the leadership elections in the Kentucky House next January promise to be a more competitive and dramatic undertaking than in years past.

Rep. Greg Stumbo, a Prestonsburg Democrat, has already announced he will challenge House Speaker Jody Richards of Bowling Green for the chamber’s top post.

And Daviess County could have a seat at the leadership table with Rep. Tommy Thompson, a Philpot Democrat, running for House majority whip in a field that has the most contenders.

“It’s going to be an interesting time,” Stumbo said during a recent interview.

Stumbo, who served as House majority floor leader before being elected state attorney general, returned to the legislature this spring after winning a special election.

Though technically a freshman legislator, Stumbo was called upon by leadership on many occasions because of his experience, and he negotiated with Senate President David Williams on legislation regarding water and sewer projects.

After much speculation this spring and summer, Stumbo announced last month that he would challenge Richards, the longest-serving speaker of the House in state history. Continue reading

Richards v. Stumbo

Jim Gaines with the Bowling Green Daily News talked to House Speaker Jody Richards and Rep. Greg Stumbo for an article this weekend as the two ramp up their campaigns for January’s House leadership elections. 

Stumbo, a Prestonsburg Democrat and former attorney general, announced last week that he would challenge Richards, a Bowling Green Democrat. 

One of the biggest points of disagreement between the two, who previously worked closely together when Stumbo was House majority floor leader, was their takes on this year’s legislative session. 

Frustration was running high when the session ended at midnight April 15, or a few hours after depending upon who you ask, and many members have voiced their discontent in the following months.

Stumbo appears to be trying to capitalize on that discontent while Richards will no doubt be tapping into the relationships he’s formed during his tenure as House speaker, the longest in the state’s history.


Larry Dale Keeling with the Herald-Leader also has a take on the Richards-Stumbo race in his Sunday column.

Keeling also looks at how the rest of the leadership races shape up, and offers the idea that Rep. Tommy Thompson of Philpot could be chosen as part of a Stumbo-Larry Clark-Bob Damron leadership slate.

Stumbo begins speakership campaign with survey

Ryan Alessi with the Herald-Leader is reporting that Rep. Greg Stumbo kicked off his official campaign for speaker of the Kentucky House yesterday with a survey. 

The survey offers six questions that cover the budgetary process, support staff for legislators, how the caucus’s money is divided and how the House conducts its business each day while in session. 

Stumbo has paired his response to each question, and asked that legislators return their responses to his Frankfort office. Interestingly, the line on the survey for legislators to sign their names is listed as optional.

Stumbo, a Prestonsburg Democrat who rejoined the legislature this spring after a stint at attorney general, is challenging current Speaker Jody Richards, a Bowling Green Democrat.

KY House speaker’s race update

Here’s the response from House Speaker Jody Richards to Rep. Greg Stumbo’s announcement today that he would be challenging Richards in the leadership elections in January – 

It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as Kentucky House Speaker, and I am confident I will be re-elected in January.  For several months I have had meaningful, in-depth discussions with members, and I have more than 40 solid commitments.        

“Between now and the November election, I will continue to work diligently to elect Democrats to the Kentucky House.  I look forward to articulating the values and ideas of our Democrat caucus and our chamber to move Kentucky forward.”

H-L: Stumbo to run for speaker of the House

Rep. Greg Stumbo, the former state House majority floor leader and state attorney general from Kentucky, ended months of speculation today by telling the Herald-Leader he is running for House speaker.

Stumbo told the Herald-Leader’s Ryan Alessi and Larry Dale Keeling that he will challenge Rep. Jody Richards of Bowling Green, the state’s longest-serving House speaker, in January’s leadership elections.

Stumbo told Keeling he hasn’t obtained many commitments for votes from fellow House members, but feels he would win the election were it held today.

“The entire membership feels like a lot of times we haven’t held our ground and that, in some instances, we haven’t been as forceful in maintaining our positions as Sen. Williams and the senate conferees have been,” Alessi quotes Stumbo as saying.

I’m interested to see how several members of the local delegation side come January.

Rep. Jim Glenn of Owensboro, who is being challenged this November by Republican Ben Boarman, relied on Richards two years ago when he unseated Republican Joe Bowen in the 13th District. Richards also attended an Owensboro fundraiser this summer for Glenn.

But Glenn was critical of the House leadership following this spring’s legislative session, and said recently that he is focusing on the election in November and not the one in January.

Similarly, Rep. Tommy Thompson of Philpot has been a Richards ally in the past, including supporting the Bowling Green Democrat’s campaign for governor last spring. Thompson was also named to chair the House Banking and Insurance Committee last year by the Richards-headed House leadership.

But Thompson reportedly attended a recent luncheon at a recent luncheon in Frankfort hosted by Stumbo to help connect some House members with possible campaign contributors.