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Democrats stump in E'town as election nears

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Say they are issue oriented and focused on improving Kentucky

By Marty Finley

With less than two weeks to go before the general election, members of the Democratic ticket offered an impassioned plea for its base not to let the favorable polls dissuade them from voting.

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Lieutenant governor candidate Jerry Abramson said Wednesday it is much too early to celebrate a victory.

“We’re not ready to (stand) up in our stirrups,” Abramson told a modest crowd at Jerry’s Restaurant in Elizabethtown.

The Elizabethtown stop was one of about 60 on a 12-day bus tour to every “nook and cranny” of the state, Abramson said.

Each candidate assembled painted the Democratic ticket as the progressive template of prosperity, portraying their Republican opponents as backward, divisive and poisonous for the future of Kentucky.

Abramson also said the Democratic candidates like and support one another, saying they have been “bouncing off the walls” with excited energy as they travel across the state.

Not everyone gathered were supporters. A small group of dissenting Republicans huddled outside the restaurant with large signs for GOP nominees.

Abramson said Gov. Steve Beshear, who was not in attendance, has worked to expand jobs and improve the reputation of the state by attracting India-based Uflex Ltd. to Elizabethtown and driving jobs with corporate giants GE and Ford into Kentucky rather than foreign countries such as China and Mexico.

Adam Edelen, candidate for auditor, said he has seen Gov. Beshear in action and how Beshear has worked to protect funding for education and to extend healthcare to more Kentucky children.

Edelen also said Beshear helped clean up the reputation of the governor’s office after his predecessor, Ernie Fletcher, was mired in controversy with members of his administration facing criminal indictments.

“Folks, we had a government we had to apologize for,” he said.

Edelen also rebuked recent attack ads against Beshear that criticize the governor for issuing pardons to violent criminals. Edelen said the ads paint Beshear as the person who “pardoned Jack the Ripper and had allegiances to John Wilkes Booth,” and said the ads were paid for by a group funded by Republican challenger David Williams’ father-in-law.

“If one rich man can buy the governor’s office, then ladies and gentlemen, it doesn’t belong to the rest of us,” he said.

Edelen, a Meade County native who lives in Lexington, said he would be harsh on any corruption he finds while in office, taking to task government officials, organizations or contractors who intend to misuse or misappropriate taxpayer money.

He also criticized his opponent, Republican John Kemper, saying Kemper’s bankruptcy history means he cannot be trusted to play a watchdog role over taxpayer money when he can’t manage his own money.

Alison Lundergan Grimes, candidate for secretary of state, said each candidate is locked in a battle, the end result of which will shape the direction of the state for the foreseeable future.

Grimes said many Republican supporters abandoned Williams because he trails Beshear so distantly in the polls, which means they have focused more intently on taking some of the other offices on the ticket.

But Grimes said Democrats offer a real view on the issues rather than an unfocused mess of attack ads and distractions.

“We’re not about empty sound bytes,” she said. “We’re not about scare tactics.”

Grimes blasted her opponent, Republican Bill Johnson, on his views that voters would be required to produce photo identification at the polls. Grimes said Johnson also would bar the homeless from voting if elected simply because they do not have physical addresses.

Johnson has argued both measures would reduce instances of voter fraud, but Grimes on Wednesday said it would create new barriers to voting and violates the equal protection clause in the U.S. Constitution.

Bob Farmer, candidate for commissioner of agriculture, has been labeled as a comedian running for a serious office, but Farmer said he has the marketing and business experience needed to sell the products offered by farmers to consumers and improve the net farm income of individual farmers in the state.

“I know how to sell it,” he told the crowd.

Farmer said he would “tear apart” the Department of Agriculture if elected, immediately calling for an audit to identify and remove any waste and streamline salaries and benefits.

“I’m going to sell Richie Farmer’s luxury SUV; I’m not driving it,” he said, commenting on claims that Richie Farmer has spent excessively while in office.

“That SUV could have a refrigerator in it,” Bob Farmer said.

Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com.

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