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Republican gubernatorial candidate Phil Moffett carried Hardin County largely because of about 30 people quietly following a projector-screen television at 3-Putt Willie’s Restaurant in Elizabethtown.
Members of the Central Kentucky Tea Party Patriots said they rallied around Moffett after hearing him speak and agreeing with his values. They also worked hard to get word out about him, despite a smaller campaign budget than gubernatorial candidate David Williams, who won the GOP nomination statewide.
In Hardin County, Moffett took 51.3 percent of the vote, Williams took 38,82 percent and Barbara “Bobbie” Holsclaw received 9.88 percent.
Democratic candidate Gov. Steve Beshear ran unopposed in the primary.
Anford Miller, vice chairman of the local Tea Party, said Moffett is a businessman who would have brought important leadership qualities used in running his business to leading the state.
Miller cheered near the beginning of the election returns when totals stayed close between Moffett and Williams, but it became increasingly clear as the night wore one that Moffett wouldn’t take the lead.
Williams can’t win the general election without the Tea Party’s support, Miller said.
Bobby Alexander, chairman of the Central Kentucky Tea Party Patriots, said Moffett ran a clean race and promoted important values, such as freedom and financial responsibility.
“I’m not crying over spilled beans, but I think he had every right to be there,” he said.
Alexander said local Tea Party members will meet and discuss with other area Tea Party organizations to decide which candidates to support in the general election.
“If there’s anybody that thinks the tea party is beaten and going away, they can think again,” he said. “I’m not sure what motivates us more, wins or losses.”
Alexander added that the Tea Party supported other candidates that made a good showing in their races, such as John Kemper III for auditor of public accounts and Bill Johnson for secretary of state.
At Rafferty’s Restaurant and Bar in Elizabethtown, there was no one choice for about 40 members of the Hardin County Republican Party Executive Committee and the Hardin County Republican Women's Club, but Williams was the favorite in the governor’s race.
Kayi Lewis, president of the club, said she agrees with Williams on many issues, including education and the economy. She also thinks his political experience give him the best chance of winning the general election.
“He is aggressive and I’m looking for an aggressive person to bring jobs to Kentucky,” she said.
Lewis said Republicans would rally behind any of the primary winners.
Laura LaRue, treasurer for Williams’ campaign and an Elizabethtown resident, said the primary process is in place for a reason and it’s important to have choices.
LaRue said Williams and lieutenant governor candidate Richie Farmer are humbled by the state support.
“They cannot wait to unite the conservatives in Kentucky,” she said.
Magistrate Lisa Williams said the primary was especially exciting because there were so many strong female candidates.
Bill Betson, chairman of the executive committee, said this primary was encouraging because the party fielded strong candidates. He said he had a hard time picking who to vote for in every race.
“All of them are very impressive,” he said. “In my position, I am very happy we have competitive races. I think it’s a good thing. I don’t think it divides the party.”
Amber Coulter can be reached at (270) 505-1746 or email@example.com.