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4th District race draws new candidates, new voters

by Joe Arnold


Posted on May 21, 2012 at 5:32 PM

Updated Monday, May 21 at 10:57 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky (WHAS11) -- Expect some confused looks at the ballot box in several Kentucky counties on Tuesday.

Not only are seven Republicans and two Democrats all vying for the Fourth Congressional District seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Geoff Davis' retirement, but Kentucky's congressional maps have been redrawn.While all of eastern Jefferson County has been represented by U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth (D) in the Third Congressional District, the new Fourth Congressional District now claims the easternmost sixth of Jefferson County.

The former map included all of Shelby County and Spencer County in U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie's (R) Second Congressional District.  The redrawn Fourth District boundaries include about one-third of northern Spencer County and all of Shelby County.
Though two Democrats, Grant County lawyer Bill Adkins and hotelier Greg Frank of Corinth, are seeking the seat, the Republican primary is expected to choose Davis' successor in the heavily Republican district.

Based on campaign activity and fundraising, the GOP frontunners appear to be Lewis County Judge Executive Thomas Massie, Boone County Judge-Executive Gary Moore and state Rep. Alecia Webb-Edgington of Kenton County.

Oldham County contractor, developer and school board member Walt Schumm has also aired radio and television commercials, offering an alternative to the northern Kentucky candidates.

Also on the GOP ballot are attorney and blogger Marcus Carey, teacher Brian Oerther, and businessman Tom Wurtz.

Moore is campaigning on his 12 years of balanced budgets as Boone County Judge Executive.

"I'm the only candidate for Congress that can help move infrastructure projects forward as well as work with the national debt and deficit," Moore told WHAS11 News.

While Moore has the Kentucky Right to Life endorsement, Webb-Edgington -- a former state trooper -- is endorsed by the outgoing Congressman Geoff Davis. 

"I envision my role in Congress as one that keeps the ball moving," Webb-Edgington told WHAS11.  "I'm a principled conservative and I want to continue the legacy of Congressman Geoff Davis who is an individual that has been a principled conservative in Congress that's kept the ball moving forward."

The Fourth District battle is being described as a Tea Party versus establishment contest.  Massie has scored the support of big names of that conservative movement and has the extra support of a Texas-based Super Pac's independent television ad campaign.

"My platform of fiscal responsibility and constitutionally limited government has been endorsed by the Tea Party and by Senator Rand Paul," Massie told WHAS11.  "And I think we'll find out on Tuesday that it resonates with voters in the Fourth District of Kentucky."

"We've reduced spending," Moore argued.  "The tax rate in Boone is lower today than when I took office and we've created 13,000 new jobs.  Those are all things that my Tea Party friends agree with."

Moore said the Tea Party is not just fiscally conservative but socially conservative.

"I'm the only candidate endorsed by Kentucky Right to Life in this race," Moore said.  "And I'm for traditional marriage between one man and one woman.  I'm a Christian, Southern Baptist."

Schumm said that he identifies with the Tea Party message but acknowledged that the other candidates have claimed Tea Party support.

"We're kind of out here to fend for ourselves," Schumm said, "but I'm bringing this message to the new parts of the district."

Schumm has implemented a "southern strategy," appealing to voters in Oldham, Shelby and Spencer Counties, the southwest end of the district, to elect one of their own versus the other frontrunners from Northern Kentucky.

"We've got to get in there and fight for what we deserve," Schumm told WHAS11, "and what we deserve is to get the bridges done , get the roads done and so forth.  I'm afraid these new counties are going to be left out just like we've been left out in Oldham County."

"This end of the district really becomes a viable component of the Fourth Congressional District," Moore said, not ceding any territory to Schumm,  "The congressman will want to have an office here to serve the population, I'm committed to that."

Though Massie has grabbed the Tea Party mantle, none of the other candidates are allowing him a monopoly.

"I'm proud to say that I am a Republican and I have the support of Congressman Geoff Davis and Senator Jim Bunning, supporters from the NRA and Susan B Anthony List." Webb-Edgington said.  "I think that speaks clear that I am the principled conservative in this race and I am proud to be a Republican."

Massie told WHAS11 that an internal campaign poll shows him with a six point lead over Webb-Edgington.  In refusing to accept a federal pension if elected, Massie is targeting her.

"My opponent on the other hand is a career politician who will receive her third taxpayer-funded defined benefit pension if elected to Congress," Massie said.  "So I think there is a clear distinction in this race." 

Webb-Edgington has said that she waived her state provided health insurance benefits upon taking state office because she already had private insurance. 

"I also asked if I could waive my state pension contribution and participation in the state pension system and that was not allowed," Webb-Edgington said at an April 30 debate. 

"The most important issue facing our country today is the budget," Massie said.  "And, we definitely need to balance the budget so that we can rein in our federal debt for it threatens our entire nation.  Now, if we are unfortunate enough that Obama gets elected to a second term, I will work to stop his socialist agenda in Congress.  Congress may be the only firewall that we have in stopping many of his misguided initiatives."