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David Williams talking, but not endorsing in GOP Senate race

by Joe Arnold


Posted on March 1, 2010 at 1:10 AM

During my interview with Senate President David Williams (R-Burkesville) last week,  he said he is not endorsing anyone in the U.S. Senate Republican primary.  Yet Williams did not necessarily deny consulting with a campaign, saying he wouldn't tell me if he was, because if he disclosed that kind of information, people would likely stop calling him for advice.

"I think outside interference in primaries makes it more likely that groups will be alienated and will not come home to support the nominee of their party," Williams said.

If he was backing a candidate, however, who would it be? 

Here's what Williams said about the frontrunners:

on Trey Grayson:

"I've known Trey Grayson for a long time,  He's been Secretary of State for soon to be eight years.  (I) didn't know him prior to that, never had heard of him prior to that, never had seen him involved prior to that.  But he's been around the state a lot. I've seen him over here in the legislature."

on Rand Paul:

"I've known Rand Paul. He's been very active in social conservative and fiscally conservative groups, anti-tax movement and that sort of thing.  And I would think at this particular moment, that he seems to have the wind at his back because of the mood out there in the public with the tea party folks...."

"Rand Paul is an engaging indivual.  He's an attractive candidate.  He's a good family person.  He has a background in health care, and he appeals to a lot of folks who are independent voters and that's where this election will be decided.  That's where the excitement is."

Even if you don't reach the conclusion that Williams is leaning toward Rand Paul (an attractive candidate) over Trey Grayson (never had seen him involved prior to Secretary of State), the Paul campaign will be pleased to see the top elected Republican in Frankfort at least recognizing the legitimacy of the Paul campaign, and not disregarding him as "too kooky for Kentucky" as detractors have put it.

When I asked Williams if he had been upset that Sen. Mitch McConnell had decided to back Grayson and not Williams for the senate race, Williams simply said that he disagreed with the premise of my question because as far as he knew McConnell was not backing anyone in the primary.  (McConnell is one of a number of senators to host a fundraiser for Grayson last year).

Williams said either candidate is preferable to either of the Democrats who are running, "because I don't want Harry Reid as Senate Majority Leader."