Executive's decision

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By Stephen Lega

Jack Brammer of The Lexington Herald-Leader’s Bluegrass Politics blog reported last Friday that Gov. Steve Beshear has released the names of Republicans who are his “supporters.” The list of 70 GOP members who are endorsing Beshear’s re-election bid appears at the end of the entry.

And the first name on the list is Lebanon Mayor Gary Crenshaw. (To read the full blog entry, go here http://tinyurl.com/3epwevf.)

Without a doubt, Senate President David L. Williams will release a list of Demo-crats who are endorsing him sometime soon. It’s inevitable in any race that some members of one party will support candidates in another party.

The question is how widespread is that bipartisan support?

Crenshaw has certainly had good things to say about Beshear publicly during the last few months. Of course, those comments were made during ribbon-cutting ceremonies for two new industries - PDCI Automotive and spice company R.L. Schreiber - that are expected to bring more than 140 jobs to Lebanon.

Crenshaw said he has nothing against Williams or his running mate, Richie Farmer, but he appreciates what Beshear has done for Lebanon and Marion County.

He said that the economic incentives implemented under Beshear have been beneficial to Lebanon and Marion County. He added that Beshear has been in Lebanon four times in the past 12 months to make announcements related to nearly 200 jobs coming to the community.

“I just felt like with all his administration has done for Lebanon and Marion County in the last few years, I just felt obligated to say I stand up and support him,” Crenshaw said.

Crenhaw added that he considers himself nonpartisan. Normally, he tries to stay out of politics, but in this case, he felt Beshear deserved the support, he said.

“I believe in being loyal to who brings things to our community, who brings jobs here,” Crenshaw said.

Crenshaw’s campaign contributions this year may be a good measure of that support. According to the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance, Crenshaw has made a $250 contribution to the Williams campaign and a $1,000 contribution to the Beshear campaign.

In 2003 and 2007, Crenshaw made contributions of $250 and $125 respectively to Republican gubernatorial candidate and former Gov. Ernie Fletcher.

If money speaks louder than words, than the mayor’s opinion of Beshear seems to have improved considerably, since the 2007 campaign.

Out of curiosity, I looked to see if any other local officials were contributing to the 2011 gubernatorial campaigns.

Like Crenshaw, Marion County Economic Development Director Tom Lund contributed $1,000 to Beshear’s re-election campaign and $250 to the Williams campaign. Marion County Judge/Executive John G. Mattingly and City Councilman Kenny Marrett have each contributed $1,000 to the Beshear campaign. State Rep. Terry Mills and State Sen. Jimmy Higdon have not made any contributions to either gubernatorial campaign.

I suspect we’ll find some magistrates and maybe a few more public officials contributing to the campaign before Nov. 8 gets here.

In the meantime, you may want to get some garbage bags ready. I fear this year’s governor’s race may get messier than the front row of a Gallagher show.