October 21, 2015

Lexington HL ran editorial on front page

The New York Times still marks some stories as “Analysis.” You won’t find that word in Kentucky’s two main papers anymore. The old school of journalism is dead at the Lexington Herald Leader — and also The Courier-Journal, by the way. They purposely and consistently blur the line between news and opinion. As I said in my editorial below, “Opinion creeps from the editorial page to the news pages in silent steps” Well, that was written in 1998. Today, opinions don’t creep off their assigned spaces — they run wild, more of less without barriers, because editors allow it, and seemingly encourage it.

I’ve seen no better example than the story on the front page, above the fold, in today’s Lexington Herald Leader. Read it here, http://ow.ly/TGV6J

The headline reads: “Whether he knew or not, Pitino has to go.” The subhead was: “It’s time for coach to put the program ahead of himself.”

And the very first sentence of the story: “Rick Pitino has to go.” A short, one-sentence paragraph.

The writer’s opinion continued dominated paragraph two: “That’s clear now. It doesn’t matter if the Louisville basketball coach didn’t know. He should have known. It’s his program. It’s his responsibility to know.” The whole story goes that way — clearly an editorial on the front page masquerading as news.  

Peter Baniak, are you on vacation? Do you have no shame? Running editorials on the front page! It shows a complete disrespect for the readers.

Today it’s about sports; tomorrow it could about a politician that certain people at the paper don’t like.

The following is an editorial I wrote on this subject. It ran June 30,1998, in The Kentucky Gazette.

Editorial opinion creeps unnoticed to front page

One of the amazing myths in American society is that newspapers are impartial public servants. Newspapers are neither impartial, nor public servants. They are businesses out to make money by gathering information about people and selling it, while at the same time receiving additional bucks from people who pay to have information printed about themselves. It’s strictly business — news and advertising — and there’s not much benevolence about it. Quite to the contrary, newspapers that have achieved institutional status, like The Courier-Journal and Lexington Herald-Leader, are used as instruments to mold society to the image of what the editors think society ought to be — which, for the C-J and Herald, is liberal.
         The late J. Ed McConnell said a person should gamble a little every day because, “You might be walking around lucky and not even know it.” Well, the newspapers you read every day may be liberal (or conservative) to the bone — not just on the editorial page. But they handle it with such finesse, you might not even know it.
         Another myth about newspapers is that opinions stay on the editorial page. They don’t. Opinion creeps from the editorial page to the news pages in silent steps. One way is story selection. Choosing what stories to write about is, in fact, an editorial statement. Thus, the doctrine of editors is presented to the public on a daily basis...unnoticed with the news. And it’s not co-incidental. The editors know it. A recent example is the controversial series of stories by The Courier-Journal on coal dust sampling — clearly a massive editorial.
         The newspaper industry has a name for stealth editorial statements masquerading on news pages: it’s called civic journalism. Or, some call it democracy-enhancing journalism, because the aim, in the words of a co-founder, is to “help public life go well by reengaging people in it.” In other words, instead of explaining the community, convene it; instead of exploring the issues, solve them; instead of exposing wrongs, campaign against them.
         Max Frankel, the former executive editor of The New York Times, said, “The ardent civic journalists of today are not content to tell it like it is, they want to tell it and fix it all at once.” Knight-Ridder and Gannett — the owners of the Herald-Leader and Courier-Journal, respectively — are adherents and practitioners of democracy-enhancing journalism.
         In addition to the editorial page and story selections, a third way that newspapers color themselves is through the biases of writers — all of whom have beliefs that find their way into stories. Writers are always visible just behind their words. They don’t plainly slant the news; that would be unfair and unprofessional. What happens is that all stories are written with stresses, colorations and emphasis that favor a writer’s view about “public life going well.”
         As language passes through a writer’s mind something happens akin to bees making honey. As described by naturalist John Burroughs (1837-1921): “The hive bee does not get honey from the flowers; honey is a product of the bee. What she gets from the flowers is mainly sweet or nectar; this she puts through a process of her own, and to it adds a minute drop of her own secretion of formic acid. It is this special personal contribution that converts the nectar into honey.” And writers contribute minute doses of attitude — shades, colors and accents — that turn ordinary news into unnoticed commentary.
         The influence of the state’s two largest newspapers is tremendous, but not as profound as commonly perceived. As the numbers printed by the Gazette in this edition show, the Courier-Journal’s circulation outside Jefferson County penetrates just 4.7 percent of the households in Kentucky; and the Herald-Leader’s circulation outside Fayette County penetrates just 4.9 percent. But more importantly, they are read by movers and shakers and decision-makers. And the multiplier effect is enormous: AP rewrites the papers’ stories for its members; and, consequently, TV and radio broadcasters rip and read primarily from the state’s two dominate printcasters.
         It’s too bad that the state’s news mechanism is controlled by out-of-state-owned companies whose philosophies on public life are counter to most Kentuckians. Long live the First Amendment. But in the long-term, the news media can be more dangerous than politicians.
 — Lowell Reese, publisher

October 2, 2015

Election story could be political thriller movie

Below is a preview of the Sept. 25, 2015 edition of Kentucky Roll Call. To read the actual story and names, go to the link in the next column — bottom right. 

‘The Story’ of the 2015 Republican primary for governor was a political thriller that would make a compelling movie.

An ex-girlfriend accuses a major candidate for governor of domestic violence, of abusing her physically and emotionally, claiming in a letter to the state’s largest newspaper, “Did [he] hit me? Yes,” and that he drove her to Louisville for an abortion. The accused denies it all.

Rumors of the alleged abuses had spread on the campaign trail for more than a year, but were never seen in print until 21 days before the election, when e-mails, preciously exchanged between the husband of a rival candidate’s running mate and a blogger, were leaked to the state’s second largest newspaper. The leak came from an unlikely source not identified at the time, and remained a mystery until nearly four months after the election, in a story Kentucky Roll Call broke.

Oddly, the leak came from the camp of the candidate who was accused of domestic abuse, raising the question, “Why would he fan a negative?” But there was logic in the decision — potential benefits in multiple ways, including: (a) it vented the issue by obeying the political adage that you put a negative out front and chase it, as compared to it chasing you; (b) it would discredit a major rival; and (c) plant doubt in the voters’ minds about the veracity of the abuses, that maybe the political rival connected to the e-mails created the abuses as a rumor.

The plot thickens: someone hired a pricey private eye in New York City to investigate (intimidate) the ex-girlfriend, who now lives in the Big Apple. The message to her being, keep your mouth shut or your parents will find out about the abortion.  

Did a Democrat outfox the Republicans by orchestrating the leak in order to clear the path for the Republican nominee the Democrats’ preferred as their opponent in the general election? There appeared to be reasons to believe so.

The e-mails were stolen by dark means. But by whom, and how did they end up, allegedly, in the hands of a lobbyist who sneaked them to the reporter in an elaborate and calculated scheme.

The reporter unwittingly fell for the scheme and wrote a story that would knock the e-mail-connected rival out of the race. And, as planned, once the reporter’s story came out, the accused would call a press conference and deny everything, and he had plenty of time to prepare answers to the questions. A nice scheme, or so it seemed!

Once the ex-girlfriend read the blanket denials, which made her out to be a liar, she decided to tell her side of story to the state’s largest newspaper. Her decision was the tipping point of the accused’s campaign.  Throughout the remaining 16 days of the election, the big-city paper ran story after story, turning the ill-gotten e-mails and alleged abuses into ‘The Story’ of the 2015 gubernatorial primary, dooming the chance of her ex-boyfriend to be governor.  He lost by 83 votes.

July 6, 2015

Brother against brother over Civil War statue

Editor’s Note: Kentucky remained neutral during our nation’s Civil War, but joined the Confederacy in sentiment after the War. Read the book, “Creating a Confederate Kentucky,” by Anne Marshall.

Following the murder of nine blacks in a Charleston, S.C., church last month by a young white man, who had been photographed earlier holding a Confederate battle flag, a debate began in Kentucky on whether to remove the statue of Jefferson Davis from the Capitol Rotunda.

The War pitted brother against brother; the debate over Jefferson Davis’ statue has two prominent brothers on opposing sides — this time in sentiments expressed in words, not guns … but evidence nonetheless, from both brothers, that the War is not really over.

Al Cross, a UK professor and former journalist, in his bi-monthly op-ed column in The Courier-Journal on June 26, 2015, called Davis “a traitor to his country,” and said his statue does not belong in the Capitol Rotunda. Al’s brother, David, an Albany, Ky., lawyer, holds the opposite view, which he expressed in a column in his hometown newspaper, the Clinton County News, following Al’s piece in the C-J.  

Click here to read Al’s column. Below is David’s column, reprinted with permission.  

By David Cross
[As printed in the Clinton County News]

In 1856-57 a large contingent of prominent families from Clinton County, Kentucky, migrated to the Red River country of northeast Texas, settling in and around the town of Paris, Texas.

Among the group were Rice Maxey and his son Sam Bell Maxey who had been recently defeated in a race for re-election as Clinton County Court Clerk; William Bramlette, whose brother Thomas Bramlette would be elected Governor of Kentucky in 1863; and Lemuel Hardin Williams, whose family farm had been the location where Clinton County was organized after its creation by the Legislature.

These families soon became prominent in Lamar County. Rice Maxey became Circuit Judge and Williams was elected a delegate to the 1861 Texas Convention regarding secession.

Williams was one of the “Seven Immortals” that publicly cast their votes against secession, as was another Lamar delegate, George Wright, who was from the Cumberland River region of Tennessee below Clinton County and was closely associated with the Clinton emigrants.

Secession was overwhelmingly approved by the Convention. Lem Williams returned to his Lamar County home and instead of joining the Union Army promptly volunteered for military service locally and raised a company of men to support the Confederacy.

Sam Bell Maxey, who also opposed secession, entered the Confederate Army and by mid-war was elevated to the rank of Brigadier General, being particularly active in the Trans-Mississippi theater. Others who had opposed secession followed suit.

Were these men traitors? This question is prompted by the current discussion regarding whether or not Davis’ statue should be removed from the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort, including the recent the mis-characterization of Jefferson Davis as a “traitor” by a Courier-Journal columnist whom I both love and admire, but seem to disagree with on a semi-regular basis on certain issues.

On the question of Davis, we are in fact, “A House Divided”.

Nowhere in America was the Civil War as tumultuous, divisive, and dangerous as along the Kentucky border region where we reside.

My people are buried in the Irwin Cemetery, in the shadow of the Poplar Mountains in eastern Clinton County, on the edge of what was once called Stockton Valley, a cemetery founded by the father-in-law of Lem Williams.

In one row of graves we find the marker of Confederate guerrilla Champ Ferguson’s first wife; in the next row, the grave of Ruben Wood, one of Ferguson’s first victims in 1861. Ferguson was tried and hanged at Nashville after the war for the killing of Wood, and many others, after voluntarily surrendering to Federal authorities, believing he was to receive clemency.

Just down KY 1076 toward the Tennesse border lies the home place of Ferguson, and just a mile south is the community now called Maupin, but was formerly known as Elliots Cross Roads, named for the grandfather of Governor Thomas Elliot Bramlette.

Clinton County was a strong Union county; however, Overton County, Tennessee, then adjoining it to the southwest, was overwhelmingly pro-southern.

Jefferson Davis had a sterling public career including four years as Secretary of War, and as Senator from Mississippi strongly argued against secession. Volunteering for military service after he tearfully resigned from the Senate, he instead was persuaded to become President of the Confederate States of America, in part because many viewed him as the most qualified man for the position. He was, understandably, indicted for treason after the war. However, he became a leader of reconciliation despite being shackled for two years after his arrest.

In Clinton County, the post-war criminal dockets reveal numerous indictments against Ferguson’s band and other rebels for acts which they committed during the war. These were dealt with by Governor Bramlette in 1867 before he left office, when he issued a blanket pardon for all war crimes, stating that “War made many good people do bad things.” Bramlette, who remained a Democrat after the war, had been a Colonel in the Union Army as well as United States Attorney for Kentucky before his election as Governor.

Bramlette and others soon found that service in the army of the CSA was nearly a pre-requisite to holding political office in Kentucky. The “Bloody Shirt” of the Confederacy was waived by Democrats for thirty years or more in Kentucky.

This glorification of the “Lost Cause” led to Confederate monuments far out-numbering those for Union soldiers on courthouse squares in Kentucky– in fact, I know of only two such Union memorials, in the Republican counties of Butler and Lewis.

In effect, the leaders of the state that they say didn’t secede until after the war was over wrote history as they wished it to be written. However, the political alignment of the state for generations to come was based upon which side people were on during the War.

The native son Davis was much more popular than the native son Lincoln in the state. Abe “didn’t even scratch” in some counties, and barely did in Clinton.

Now the Confederate battle flag, the “Stars and Bars”, has been hijacked by white supremacists and madmen, when the people of my generation look at it simply as a symbol of southern pride, as evidenced by Charlie Daniels and Lynyrd Skynyrd since the 1970s.

And Jeff Davis, whose presence in the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort is understandably questioned by some, stands there looking at his northern counterpart, Abraham Lincoln. Doesn’t that say as much about the divisions of the state as anything else?

It seems that the history of the Civil War (or The War for Southern Independence, as it was called in the south) is again being re-written, which occasionally needs to be done. However, to not look at the events of the past through a 150-year old lens is a mistake. The South lost the war, but had gallant men who fought and led its effort to establish a separate country. We remain thankful that such effort failed, but should accept that bravery on behalf of any cause is to be respected.

Jeff Davis and Lemuel Hardin Williams are to be respected, and recognized, as men who made difficult decisions in extremely difficult times.


April 28, 2015

Comer's pension windfall is $467,000

Citizens for Sound Government, a super PAC in Denver, is attacking gubernatorial candidate James Comer in TV ads for his vote in favor of a bill when he was a legislator in 2005 that increased his own pension. 

Below is an explanation of Comer’s pension increase. 

To read the full report — and see who else voted for the bill and examples of gold-plated pensions — click here http://ow.ly/Mf3y4

Editor’s Note
Kentucky’s public employee pension plans are complex and complicated. So much so that reporters, editorial writers and columnists, with rare exceptions, give readers mere generalities, which is sometimes misleading. For example, an esteemed columnist wrote recently in The Courier-Journal that HB 299, the bill now biting Comer, “would have been very small, essentially reflecting cost-of-living increases in legislative pay, had Comer not been elected to statewide office in 2011.” Not even technically correct in fullness, the inference it planted in the minds of readers (unintended or not) was that the political fuss about it in the governor’s race is over a trivial matter. Armed with the information provided below and at http://ow.ly/Mf3y4, you can be the judge of that! 

Thanks to HB 299, former Rep. Harry Moberly is drawing a legislative pension of at least $169,000 a years; former Rep. J.R. Gray is drawing a legislative pension of at least $136,000 a year; and Rep. Greg Stumbo’s legislative pension will be at least $94,000 a year. 

Kentucky’s six state-administered pension systems have an unfunded liability of $34.6 billion as of June 30, 2014. 

Former Rep. James Comer’s windfall
[This story is reprinted from a white paper titled, “The Unsustainable: Kentucky’s Public Employee Pensions Systems,” authored by Lowell Reese, published in 2012 in The Kentucky Gazette.]

Among current policymakers to significantly benefit from HB 299 is Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer. Even before winning last year’s election Comer, then a representative from Tompkinsville, joined 17 of his fellow Republicans in the House by voting in favor of HB 299, a bill that could double or even triple his legislative pension – if he were to win a statewide office or get appointed to an upper-echelon job in state or local government, or even accept a position with one of several private organizations that have been granted state pension privileges.

On Jan. 1, 2012, the moment Comer raised his hand for the oath of office as the commonwealth’s new agriculture commissioner, which pays $113,616 a year, he hit the jackpot as a result of his vote on House Bill 299 in the 2005 legislative session. Suddenly, Comer’s pension for having served 11 years in the legislature nearly tripled. Simply upon taking the oath, his annual legislative pension spiked from $13,100 a year to $34,369.

Comer can begin drawing the pension in full when he reaches age 63. Just for winning the election and helping enact what became known as “the greed bill” in 2005, Comer’s windfall over a lifetime comes to at least $467,906.

As impressive as it is, Comer’s “gold find” is small compared to the pension spikes of some legislators. Bigger yet, in importance, are the generous benefits the politicians have bestowed upon their constituents who work in government.

Comer’s legislative pension is determined using the state’s three-factor formula: (1) Eleven years of service; (2) a service credit rate of 2.75 percent; and (3) the average of his highest three years of salary as a legislator, which was $43,037 a year.

Comer’s windfall involves two pension systems – the legislators’ plan he’s coming from and the state employees’ plan he now has joined. The pension padding bill contained a reciprocity provision, which means any legislator who was serving in the 2005 session – and all legislators elected afterward – can calculate their legislative pensions based not on their pay as legislators, which are part-time jobs, but on their pay in full-time positions held before or after leaving the legislature as long as those other jobs are with employers participating in one of the six state administered retirement systems.

Commissioner Comer as a new state employee now begins a second pension in the Kentucky Employees Retirement System (KERS). Over the next four years – or eight if he is re-elected – his salary and compound cost-of-living increases (once he retires), likely will boost his legislative pension gain to a figure much greater than a half-million dollars.

His excessive gain from public service happens to be only the most recent example of how legislators are padding their pensions. As you will read, the pensions of some legislators are super rich – riches they voted for themselves because they could, once Gov. John Y. Brown Jr. allowed them to begin exerting independence from the executive branch in 1980.

Before that, previous governors greatly expanded and protected from repeal the pensions of public employees, a practice subsequent governors obviously accepted, and through their own initiatives continued the benefit creep, gradually, often in silent catlike steps.


April 21, 2015

Kentucky lobbyists earning more than $1 million

Getting paid to influence the creation of public policy in Kentucky can be quite profitable. During the last legislative cycle — the two calendar years of 2013 and 2014 — eleven lobbying firms earned more than $1 million each.  

Two-year Earnings By Firm
(Legislative cycle: 2013-2014)

Rank                                                                                (dollars)                 

1.  MMLK Government Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $3,266,816
2.  McCarthy Strategic Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,130,558
3.  Top Shelf Lobbying . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   1,802,771
4.  Capitol Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,674,495
5.  Commonwealth Alliances . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1,636,491
6.  Babbage CoFounder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1,625,100
7.  Capital Link Consultants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,571,671
8.  JYB3 Group. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,425,400
9.  The Rotunda Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,335,815
10.  Government Strategies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1,326,178
11.  McLean Communications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,067,728
12.  HCH Government Relations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 712,201

Two-year Earnings By Individual
(Legislative cycle: 2013-2014)

Rank                                                                      (dollars)                 

1.  Bob Baggage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$1,625,100
2.  John McCarthy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,097,822
3.  Sean Cutter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,040,610
4.  J. Ronald Pryor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,040,245
5.  John Cooper . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1,016,816

The figures provided above are from lobbying the Kentucky General Assembly only. The figures do not include earnings from the executive branch, which are estimated to be around 75 percent (rule of thumb) of a lobbyist’s legislative branch compensation. The amount that lobbyists are paid for working the executive branch of state government is confidential — not reported to government, and, therefore, not available to the public, because no law requires it. 

Source: Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission and compiled by Second Circle: 2015-2016. In addition to photos of participating lobbyists, their clients and contact information, the Second Circle book lists the Top 75 contract lobbyists’ earnings by individual and the earnings of all contract lobbying firms and their clients. The book is available at

February 18, 2015

Op-ed in C-J against local option sales tax

The following is an op-ed that appears today in The Courier-Journal. It is posted here to spread it in public domain without the digital ad barriers. 

Proponents losing the ‘tax’ in the ‘LIFT’ effort

By Bridget Bush
Louisville attorney and founder of the Elephants in the Bluegrass blog.

As I have watched legislation for Local Option Sales Tax wind its way through the Kentucky legislature, I have grown dismayed by Republicans who have seized upon the word “local” to the exclusion of the word “tax.”

The Local Option Sales Tax would allow cities and counties to place special projects on the ballot for which voters could raise the sales tax an extra 1 percent until the project is paid off. This requires an amendment to the Kentucky Constitution. Both houses of the legislature must pass it by two-thirds, as the House has, followed by a 2016 referendum.

Rather than use the acronym “LOST,” for Local Option Sales Tax, proponents call it “LIFT,” short for Local Investments for Transformation. Mysteriously, the word “tax” has vanished. Anytime a politician gives a bill an Orwellian name to disguise its true purpose (as in “Affordable Care Act”), taxpayers should hide their wallets.

This is an additional tax, plain and simple, on top of the existing 6 percent sales tax.

It might make sense as part of comprehensive tax reform, in which property or state income taxes are reduced as an offset. That is not the case. Indeed, implementation of LIFT may make tax reform less likely. When Louisville needs money from Frankfort, say to build a bridge or pave state roads, LIFT gives Frankfort pols an out; they can respond, “if Louisville thinks the project is so important, increase your sales tax.”

Louisville already sends far more money to Frankfort than we receive back here. LIFT could exacerbate that.

LIFT is touted as a way to build transformational projects — really cool things for which the state or federal government won’t pay (and that arguably aren’t the business of government). Despite those well-meaning and ambitious intentions, LIFT could instead be used to fund the most mundane things that we expect covered by our income and property taxes — particularly if Frankfort gives us no choice. For example, cities, like Lincoln, Neb., seek LOST taxes for mundane projects like street and sidewalk repair. So much for transformational.

LIFT is promoted as adding just 1 penny on the dollar; we’ll hardly notice it. That supposed virtue is actually the problem. Any mechanism that makes it easier and less noticeable for the government to tax us ultimately will lead to more and higher taxes. Withholding of payroll taxes demonstrates that citizens can be conditioned into paying taxes on a regular basis, including tax hikes. In any event, the fact that LIFT initially would be limited to a 1-cent increase does not ensure that it will stay at that level forever, as other states have seen.

LIFT’s biggest cheerleader, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, likes to point out that 37 other states allow their municipalities to hike their sales taxes for local projects. With lemming-like logic, Fischer argues that because other states and many of Louisville’s peer cities have such taxes, Louisville must follow suit or be left behind. That assumes Louisville’s shortcomings stem from a failure of government to tax us enough.

LIFT’s decentralization — another of its supposed virtues —adds complexity that will burden businesses operating in multiple Kentucky communities, as they navigate multiple and inconsistent local sales taxes. Indeed, Louisville, with its smaller cities, might have sales taxes that vary by neighborhood. Or consumers can save the sales tax by buying online. That would hurt local retailers.

Part of the seduction of LIFT is that it sunsets when the special project is paid for. Citizens in Henry County, Ga., however, have seen that when one special project ends, another is already on the ballot. It therefore becomes a permanent tax in search of a purpose.

Moreover, some states have multiple forms of local option sales taxes, often used simultaneously. Iowa, for example has “SILO” (school infrastructure local option) in addition to its local option sales tax. That is deeply concerning given the regressive nature of sales taxes: the poor feel them disproportionately. LIFT only partly addresses the regressiveness by exempting food, medicine and utilities.

The Washington Post notes that three of the Republican candidates for governor oppose LIFT. Only Will T. Scott said he supports it, albeit with this warning: “We’re spending more money in government this year than any year since you were born. They need more money for what? They got more this year than they’ve ever had and they want more?” Scott said, “So you have to be really, really careful with this. . . . There is a danger to the people.”

Republican Senate President Robert Stivers calls LIFT “democracy in its purest form.” Stivers’ premise is incorrect. Taxation does not metamorphose simply because it occurs at the local level. It is still the government taking our money. This is not “democracy in its purest form” because voters have no option to reduce taxes.

Bridget Bush is a Louisville attorney and founder of the Elephants in the Bluegrass blog.

January 29, 2015

Poll results in GOP primary for Governor

By Lowell Reese
Kentucky Roll Call
Jan. 29, 2015

Remington Research Group, a Kansas City, Missouri political polling firm, released this morning the results of a poll it conducted January 27-28 of the candidates for governor in the Kentucky in the GOP primary election. Remington is a rather new polling firm. It has been in the field in two election cycles, about a year and half. It does national polling in Republican races, and is not affiliated with any candidate, Titus Bond of the firm told us.

Here are the results of Remington’s survey of 1066 registered Republicans who are “likely” to vote in the May 19 GOP primary. The margin of error is ± 2.98%.

Q: The candidates in the Republican primary election for Governor are James Comer, Matt Bevin, Hal Heiner and Will T. Scott. If the election were held today, for whom would you vote?

James Comer    22%
Matt Bevin       19%
Hal Heiner       18%
Will T. Scott      5%
Undecided       35%

Q: What is your opinion of James Comer?

Favorable        31%
Unfavorable      9%
No opinion      60%

Q: What is your opinion of Matt Bevin?

Favorable        30%
Unfavorable    17%
No opinion      52%

Q: What is your opinion of Hal Heiner?

Favorable        33%
Unfavorable    10%
No opinion      58%

What is your opinion of Will T. Scott?

Favorable        12%
Unfavorable    11%
No opinion      77%

The poll was conducted by automated phone calls. The calls began at 7:00 pm Tuesday, after the filing deadline, and continued Wednesday afternoon and evening. Respondents were screened to determine their likelihood to vote in the primary and 35 percent were rejected on that basis.

A combination of the favorable and unfavorable numbers is an approximation of the candidate’s name ID. 

Information about Remington Research Group is at www.remingtonresearchgroup.com