Veteran political reporter Jack Brammer revealed in this morning’s Lexington Herald-Leader that Larry Forgy, the 1995 GOP nominee for Governor in Kentucky and a leading supporter of State Senate President David Williams’ 2011 bid for that same office, made the following statement:
The “only reason” Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear picked former Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson to be his running mate was “to attract New York and Hollywood Jewish money” for the campaign.
The Williams campaign has not issued a comment on Forgy’s statement.
The Huffington Post published my response — as well as my analysis of the state of anti-Semitism in Bible Belt politics. Here’s an excerpt:
Seven years ago, when former GOP U.S. Senator Jim Bunning’s huge re-election lead was in free fall due to a series of missteps made by the cantankerous Baseball Hall of Famer, State Senate President David Williams rode to the rescue, armed with a slew of gay-baiting innuendos about Bunning’s then-single, heterosexual opponent.
It worked. Bunning’s numbers steadied, and he squeaked out a 1 point victory.
Today, David Williams’ own November 2011 bid for the Governor’s Mansion appears in far direr straits. Hobbled by his reputation as a bully, and by nearly weekly revelations of his and his running mate’s profligate tax dollar spending, Williams trails the incumbent Governor Steve Beshear by more than twenty points in the polls, and more than $3 million in the campaign coffers.
Alas, gay-baiting won’t stick this time: The Governor’s been happily married for more than four decades.
Instead, at least one of Williams’ most high-profile supporters appears poised to try a much older strategy, one that’s been used successfully for centuries: highlighting the Jewish faith of Beshear’s running mate, former Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson.