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Eager beavers gunning for Kelly’s seat

October 9, 2009

Apparently two politicians couldn’t wait to find out for certain if state Sen. Dan Kelly, a Springfield Democrat, will be leaving the Kentucky Senate for the judicial branch.

Many predict that Kelly, the majority floor leader in the Republican-controlled Senate, will be appointed to fill an open circuit court seat by Gov. Steve Beshear. If Beshear makes the appointment, it will be the second high-profile Republican he has named to state office in moves that help free up the Senate for a Democratic takeover in the chamber.

In anticipation of Kelly’s departure, Republican state Rep. Jimmy Higdon and former state Rep. Jodie Haydon, a Democrat, have already filed papers to seek Kelly’s seat in 2010.

From the Herald-Leader

A former Democratic state representative from Bards town and a current Republican state representative from Lebanon have filed papers signaling their intent to run for the state Senate seat held by Republican Sen. Dan Kelly in 2010.

That 14th Senate District seat has emerged as a political hot spot in recent months. Kelly, the Senate GOP floor leader from Springfield, is being widely mentioned as a candidate to fill an open circuit court judgeship, which would create an open spot in the 38-member chamber that Republicans control with 20 seats.
Jodie Haydon, a Democrat who retired from the legislature in 2004, filed paperwork with the Registry of Election Finance on Wednesday that allows him to raise money to run.

“The money part is not the issue. It was my way of letting people know that I am interested in the seat,” said Haydon, who said he plans to run regardless of whether his opponent is Kelly or someone else.
On the Republican side, Rep. Jimmy Higdon of Lebanon filed Sept. 14 to raise money for the Senate seat. But Higdon said Thursday he’ll bow out and seek a fifth term in the House if Kelly runs for re-election next year.
Higdon said he filed because he’s preparing for Gov. Steve Beshear to appoint Kelly to the bench, which probably would trigger a special election.

“You could say I’m putting the cart before the horse by getting out and asking people to vote for me in an election that doesn’t exist,” Higdon said. But he said he wanted to lay groundwork for a campaign because he expects to have to raise at least $100,000. He said he’s raised about $15,000.

After filing with the registry, Higdon and Haydon can amend their paperwork to start raising money for a special election, if one is called.

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