Former Kentucky Senate President David Williams and a political action committee have been cleared of any wrongdoing related to Williams' failed gubernatorial bid in 2011.
The Kentucky Registry of Election Finance cleared Williams and the Restoring America PAC of illegal coordination. The Courier-Journal reports the state Democratic Party filed a complaint after Restoring America was forced by a judge to reveal that Williams' then-father-in-law, Terry Stephens, was the only source of the group's $1.3 million in startup funds.
The registry did find that the PAC violated reporting rules when it did not reveal upfront who the primary funding source was and that it had spent large sums of money on polling and other services.
A special election will be held in southern Kentucky next month to fill the unexpired House term of Sara Beth Gregory who was elected to the state Senate last month.
Governor Beshear set the election for February 12th for the 52nd House District which includes Wayne and McCreary counties and part of Pulaski County. Gregory won a special election to serve the remainder of former Senate President David Williams' term after Williams resigned to accept a circuit judge appointment by the governor.
The House seat left vacant by Gregory, a Monticello Republican, runs through the end of this year. Party officials will choose nominees for the seat.
A southern Kentucky legislator says one of the biggest questions heading into the next legislative session is how lawmakers will react to the absence of David Williams. The longtime Republican Senate President resigned his seat in the legislature late last year to become a Kentucky circuit judge.
Robert Stivers of Manchester is expected to become the next Senate leader when the 2013 General Assembly begins January 8. Democratic Rep. Wilson Stone of Allen County told WKU Public Radio he'll be interested to see what--if anything--changes when Stivers leads the Senate through his legislative agenda.
"People would say that President Williams really had good discipline within his caucus. And so that allowed him to be really powerful not only in the Senate, but really in Frankfort in general," said Stone, a Democrat from Scottsville. "Now, whether Robert Stivers now will have that same discipline, and move in the same direction, I don't know. It's hard to say."
With the 2013 Kentucky legislative session not far away, a lot of focus has been placed on the man considered to have the best chance of becoming the next Senate President. Republican Robert Stivers is expected to take over leadership of the chamber from David Williams, the Cumberland County Republican who resigned to become a circuit court judge in southern Kentucky.
A GOP lawmaker from our region told WKU Public Radio he doesn't believe there will be a great deal of policy change under the new Senate leader.
Rep. Michael Meredith of Edmonson County says the biggest difference could be in personality.
"David has been one of the most intelligent people to serve in the city of Frankfort for many, many years. He was very well-versed on policy, very well-versed on issues, but could be a very divisive character as well. And I can see some changes in that. Robert could very well not be as divisive as David was," said Meredith.
Republican state Rep. Sara Beth Gregory has won a special election for a Senate seat from southern Kentucky, defeating Williamsburg teacher and Democrat Bill Conn by more than a 4-1 margin to replace former Sen. David Williams.
In unofficial returns from Tuesday's balloting, Gregory received 6,244 votes to 1,440 for Conn, who was making his first run for public office.
The heavily Republican 16th District includes Clinton, Cumberland, McCreary, Monroe, Wayne and Whitley counties, along the southern Kentucky border. Gregory, an attorney, was elected last year to represent the 52nd House District that covers McCreary and Wayne counties and part of Pulaski County and won a second term on Nov. 6.