By Ronnie Ellis
CNHI News Service
David Williams was gracious and reflective Wednesday following a 20-point loss to incumbent Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear Tuesday night.
The Republican Senate President, as he promised in is concession speech Tuesday night, was back at the capitol Wednesday, meeting with staff and with reporters to talk about what happens now. He made clear he intends to stay on as the Republican leader in the Senate, but he gave hints he may take on a more conciliatory tone — at least at first.
“Governor Beshear has been re-elected governor for the next four years and he gets the first shot at selling his agenda,” said Williams, adding that it’s just not as likely his own agenda can be pursued from the Senate President’s position as it is from the governor’s office.
As he did Tuesday night, Williams said he still believes the agenda of tax reform, adjustments to the pension system and right-to-work legislation he pushed during the campaign is the right prescription for Kentucky. But he also acknowledged that he lost the election.
“There are things I proposed that will be very difficult to accomplish if you don’t have the support of the governor,” Williams said. Other than that, Williams declined to speculate on the prospects of expanded gambling, re-districting or other measures facing the General Assembly which convenes in January — barring a special session before then to take up re-districting. But he said again he’s ready to work together with Beshear and the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives though he will oppose those measures he thinks poor policy for the state.
He said he called Beshear and congratulated him on his win and Beshear “suggested we get together” after each takes some time to rest after a grueling election.
“It serves no one well for us to have a failed session of the General Assembly,” Williams said. “And it serves no good purpose for me to be critical of the governor.”
A constant Beshear campaign theme was the weariness of voters of “rank partisanship” among the two parties, both in Washington and in Frankfort. While seldom mentioning Williams by name, Williams was clearly the target. Beshear blamed Williams for the failure of the legislature to pass expanded gambling and a bill to raise the high school drop-out age. Both men at times demonstrated deep disdain for the other, with Williams calling Beshear a “caretaker governor with no agenda and no vision.” So it remains to be seen if Williams’ more gracious tone Wednesday is genuine or long-lasting or if Beshear will try to reciprocate.
But Williams said he’s glad he made the race and is better and stronger “physically, intelligently and spiritually.” He said he made a lot of new friends and benefited from their support and that of his wife and family. Williams said his health is good and he no longer must take insulin for his diabetes — “I fell 100 percent better than I have in 10 years.”
He also said he doesn’t know of anything he’d do differently in his campaign, other than raising $10 million, the amount Beshear raised for the campaign.
“I don’t think my message was wrong,” Williams said. “I was just too unpopular to be elected.”
He said he is not bitter about the election.
RONNIE ELLIS writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.
Heads back to state capitol to move on as Republican leader in Senate
By Ronnie Ellis
Whitley sees another jailer, magistrate candidate
Candidates throughout the Tri-County area continue to prepare for the May 20 election — an election that will decide many races in the spring.
Republicans eye House takeover in ‘14
The 2014 U.S. Senate race for the seat now held by Republican Mitch McConnell may be the most important in the nation, but it might be the second-most important election inside the state.
New candidates file for May 20 primary
Several candidates have now officially thrown their hats in the ring and filed to run for office during the May 20 primary.
Candidates begin filing for state primary elections
While May 20, 2014 seems a bit too far in the future to plan ahead for anything — local, regional, state and national candidates continue to prepare for the primary next year.
W’burg City Council to return all incumbents
All Williamsburg City Council incumbents were able to retain their seats Tuesday, according to unofficial election results.
Shelton, Tye re-elected, Joe White loses seat
Two new faces will take a place on the Corbin City Commission come January. Suzie Razmus and Bruce Hodge will join incumbents Joe Shelton and Ed Tye, after all of them were the top four vote-getters in a field of six candidates in Tuesday’s election.
Three newcomers get B’ville City Council nod
Three incumbents and three newcomers were among the winners in the Barbourville City Council race Tuesday, according to that county’s election results.
Jim Hays, five incumbents elected to London City Council
Five incumbents and one challenger were the top vote getters in Tuesday’s London City Council election, according to unofficial Laurel County election results.
Ky. goes Romney; GOP increases numbers in DC
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky voters made Republican Mitt Romney their choice for president on Tuesday, yet again snubbing President Barack Obama, who has repeatedly come up short in the state.
Obama powers to re-election despite weak economy
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama won re-election Tuesday night despite a fierce challenge from Republican Mitt Romney, prevailing in the face of a weak economy and high unemployment that encumbered his first term and crimped the middle class dreams of millions.
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