The 26th Senate District includes Carroll, Henry, Oldham, Trimble and part of Jefferson Counties.
Sen. Ernie Harris has represented the district since 1995, and has not been challenged for the seat since 1998.
This year, Don Godfrey, an information security officer at Humana, is mounting a casino-based challenge for the seat.
The Courier-Journal profiles:
In his first contested race since 1998, Republican Sen. Ernie Harris faces a newcomer in District 26 who is relatively unknown.
Don Godfrey of Goshen said he has been relying on his page on Facebook, a social-networking site, and on word of mouth to draw attention to his campaign.
Still, some voters, including Oldham County Republican Party chairwoman Anne Gernstein, said they don't know much about him.
"Normally when candidates are going to run for office, they will at least contact the county chair or state chair," Gernstein said.
Godfrey, a 42-year-old computer information security employee at Humana, said he entered the race to help protect the horse industry and get involved with the political process.
Generally, a pro-casino Republican is facing an uphill battle, and this challenge is unlikely to be an exception. Still, we might suggest that Sen. Harris has become a bit complacent.
While Sen. Harris did manage to reach 71% on the 2008 scorecard, he scored only 61% in 2007 and 41% in the not-yet-released 2009 edition. This is a very poor lifetime score for someone who claims to have been named "Taxpayers Best Friend" on their website.
For his part, Godfrey recognizes the need for tax reform in Kentucky:
On the issue of the state budget, Godfrey said the state could look at services that can be cut and avoid tax increases. He said the state should be less reliant on the income tax and try to be one of the most tax-friendly states.
"There are ways to be a more tax-friendly state," he said. "If you can do that consistently, you can possibly catch the eye of businesses trying to locate."
He said Oldham County, where leaders are anxious to lure businesses and well-paying jobs, could attract companies if the state had a more favorable tax structure.
In contrast, Harris equates his job to spending your tax dollars:
He said an overpass near the site is also being considered and he's worked to get $15 million earmarked for an overpass, and an interchange could be another $20 to $25 million.
"Whatever is needed, we'll work to get it done," Harris said.
His goals also include allotting state funds for sewer improvements in La Grange, he said.
While this may not be much of a contest, it certainly illustrates the choice we all face this May and November: are we going to keep rewarding politicians who think 'doing a good job' is 'spending money', or is it time to find some new folks who really want to make the necessary changes to attract businesses to Kentucky.