Skip to content

How will rural Kentucky react to Abramson?

July 21, 2009

That’s the question reporter Ronnie Ellis with CNHI News Service has asked folks around the state.

Gov. Steve Beshear and Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson

Gov. Steve Beshear and Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson, Beshear's new running mate (AP photo)

Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson joined Gov. Steve Beshear at press conferences in Frankfort and Louisville on Monday as the pair officially kicked off their 2011 campaign. Beshear had announced Sunday that Abramson, who has been mayor of the state’s largest city since 1985, would be his running mate when he runs for re-election in two years.

“His Kentucky roots, just as deep and just as strong, are in Jefferson County,” Beshear said, according to Ellis. “I really believe Kentuckians care a lot less about where you’re from than about where you’re going.”

Ellis rightly notes the “rural/urban” divide that can often color politics in this state.

Beshear touts his western Kentucky roots in Hopkins County, but has become more associated with Lexington and Frankfort during his career in the private and public sectors.

Beshear gained support in eastern Kentucky and more rural areas with current Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo, a native of Hazard in Perry County. That won’t be the case with Abramson, who has been an enthusiastic and successful mayor, but who has become nearly synonymous with Louisville.

Abramson has developed a reputation for getting things done, but as Herald-Leader’s Larry Dale Keeling noted in his Sunday column, the mayor has run afoul of many organized labor groups and some of his recent comments have prompted a rebuke by two black lawmakers.

The Herald-Leader, in an editorial  today, says Abramson is a “dynamic choice” by Beshear, stating that “We are confident that the kind of dynamic and progressive leadership that Abramson has provided Louisville, especially in economic development, could serve the rest of Kentucky well.”

It’s going to be an interesting campaign to watch, and beyond this initial round of press conferences, voters will get a look at how Abramson handles campaigning in a statewide race during his visit to the Fancy Farm picnic in August. He plans to attend, but is not listed as one of the speakers. Beshear will miss the event, opting instead for a family vacation .

Abramson is an energetic speaker and quick of his feet, which should make for the politics of the 2011 race fun to watch.


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: