Once Louisville’s Derby hangover rolls around on Monday, we’ll be just two weeks away from the primary election, and people will finally start paying attention to some of the contested races within Jefferson County for Metro Council, the state House, and state Senate.
Probably the biggest and most hotly contested race will be the Democratic primary for the 19th Senate district, where Sarah Lynn Cunningham, Morgan McGarvey, Amy Shoemaker and Gary Demling face off against each other to take over retiring Sen. Tim Shaughnessy’s seat and win the right to do battle in the Senate with David Williams (or whoever the Republicans choose to replace him with next year, if they’re so inclined).
Here’s a very basic rundown of the candidates in the race — all of whom are at least somewhat liberal — with their background and base of support:
Sarah Lynn Cunningham — Cunningham is an engineer known for being a prolific environmental activist, as well as her epic whistleblower struggle against Metro Sewer District. She is well-liked among a great number of like-minded liberal activists in the 19th, and has picked up some big name supporters (Brown family) — partly resulting in her formidable fundraising totals in the first filing, with $34,000. She’s already received the endorsement of the Sierra Club, and we’ve heard multiple rumors that Rep. Jim Wayne will step in and support her, which would be… huge.
Here’s a short video she put up on her website recently:
Morgan McGarvey — McGarvey is a young attorney who worked under Attorney General Jack Conway and has the strong backing of the Kentucky Democratic Party establishment/machine — to the tune of a jaw-dropping $124,000 raised already. Such backing is most likely due to the fact that McGarvey has been a campaign grunt worker for big name politicians in Kentucky since he was in high school. His list of endorsements is really long, including labor unions, Crit Luallen, Tim Shaughnessy, Rep. Joni Jenkins, Sen. Gerald Neal and Adam Edelen. Regardless of the money and endorsements, McGarvey will have to convince voters that he is going to go there and fight, not play it safe in order move up the political ladder. (In The Courier-Journal video of the 19th candidate interviews at the bottom of the post, McGarvey says that he isn’t for a ban on mountaintop removal mining… not the most promising sign in the world. There also is no “issues” section on his campaign website, so he might want to share his beliefs with voters in the next two weeks.)
Amy Shoemaker — Shoemaker is a lawyer with the backing of the Fairness Campaign. A look at her issues page shows that she is quite liberal, and her speech at the Unite Against the War on Women rally last Saturday was unapologetic and impressive. She hasn’t raised a lot of money ($14,000), so she might have some trouble getting her name and message out there.
She did take the first offensive strike of the campaign, calling out McGarvey in a press release for hoarding out-of-district money — “foreclosure money,” she termed it — and stating her support for the Kentucky Clean Elections Act to move the state toward publicly financed elections.
Here’s her speech that she posted from the Louisville Metro Democratic Club:
Gary Demling — Demling is likely the underdog in this race, though he has some strong Catholic and Germantown support (Demling shirts all over the Beerwalk). He is a golf instructor and occasional sports radio host. Demling raised $23,000, but sadly hasn’t figured out that it is 2012, and his campaign should have a Facebook page.
We’ll have much more on the issues and positions of these candidates next week, but here’s a must-watch if you’re interested. This is the candidate forum/interview by The Courier-Journal, which gives you a pretty good picture of each candidates strengths (or weaknesses).