Kentucky: Wealthy Democrat Joins Senate Race at Deadline

Posted January 29, 2008 at 6:42pm

Bruce Lunsford, a wealthy Louisville businessman, declared his candidacy for Senate just before Tuesday’s filing deadline, and becomes the frontrunner in the crowded fight for the Democratic nomination.

The winner will face Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a longtime powerhouse in Bluegrass State politics who has raised more money than any Republican Senator up for re-election in 2008.

“Last November, Kentuckians embraced change and elected a good man, Steve Beshear (D), to serve as Governor and he will deliver,” Lunsford said in a statement. “This November, Kentuckians should again embrace change and bring Mitch McConnell back home to Kentucky where he belongs. Today, I filed paperwork to enter the race for United States Senate because I can bring Mitch home.”

Beshear, who defeated Lunsford in last year’s gubernatorial primary, called Lunsford “an exceptionally strong candidate,” though he stopped short of offering an endorsement.

“Last December, before any of the other Democratic candidates had decided to run, I called Bruce and asked him to consider running for the U.S. Senate,” Beshear said in a statement. “I felt that he had name recognition, the financial resources and the ability to appeal to a large cross-section of Kentuckians, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike.”

Although several Democrats are seeking the Senate nomination, Lunsford’s chief opponents in the May 20 primary are Greg Fischer, another wealthy businessman, and Iraq War veteran Andrew Horne, who ran unsuccessfully for the 3rd district House seat in 2006.
— Josh Kurtz