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If Beshear Appoints Williams to Judgeship, Stivers Will Likely Lead Senate


Kentucky Senate Republicans have established a succession plan in the case their current leader, David Williams, is appointed into an open judgeship in his district.

Williams is considered a leading candidate for the open circuit court judgeship that covers his home county.
Governor Steve Beshear, Williams’s main enemy in Frankfort, has the final say over who is appointed to finish the two year term. And Beshear hasn’t ruled out appointing Williams if his name shows up on the nomination list.

In preparation for such a move, Republican state Senator Tom Buford says his caucus has already lined up the votes to pick the next chamber president.

“Well if Senator Williams were to accept the position of circuit judge, Robert Stivers would have the votes in my opinion to become president of the Senate, yes,” Buford says.

Buford says Stivers has shown the ability as majority leader to work well within the Republican caucus, as well as with the Democratic caucus in that chamber.

Stivers has also been one of the leaders in the chamber on various drug issues in the past few years, including limiting pseudoephedrine amounts and last year's pill mill bill.

Buford says if Stivers moves up, there will likely be battle over other leadership positions.  The senator says he would assume many of the current leaders would stay in caucus leadership but may move positions.

But one open position would still remain. Buford said the caucus would probably defer to Stivers's opinion on which senator to appoint to that position.

Kenny Colston is the Frankfort Bureau Chief for Kentucky Public Radio (a collaborative effort of public radio stations in Kentucky). Colston has covered Kentucky's Capitol and state government since 2010. He is a Louisville native, and a graduate of the University of Kentucky. When he's not tracking down stories about Kentucky politics, you can often find him watching college sports, particularly football.
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