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Conversations with the Three Democratic U.S. Senate Primary Front-Runners

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The Kentucky Primary election is tomorrow. Seven democratic candidates are on the ballot for U.S. Senate looking to unseat incumbent Senator Rand Paul in the general election, who is likely to win on the Republican ticket. 

The three front-runners are Lexington mayor Jim Gray, Army veteran Ron Leach and filmmaker Sellus Wilder. Matt Markgraf spoke with the candidates to learn more about where they stand on the topics of healthcare, minimum wage, student debt, coal and infrastructure, legalizing marijuana and military spending.

Jim Gray  

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray says his background in the construction business gave him the tools to lead as mayor. 

Jim Gray brief interview after listening session

Sellus Wilder

Sellus Wilder is considered an underdog candidate in this race. A documentary filmmaker, he gained attention with a film about the bluegrass pipeline. He served as a Frankfort city commissioner and mayor pro-tempore and says in his time in this role he helped end budget deficits.

Sellus Wilder interview, recorded in April

Ron Leach

Ron Leach served three-decades in the U.S. Army, 8 years in the National Guard before becoming active duty, his experience ranges from an infantry soldier to paratrooper to a special forces green beret. He was an army medical officer and physician assistant. He retired from the Army but still works as a physician assistant in Louisville. 

Ron Leach interview recorded in February


The other democratic candidates in this race are Rory Houlihan, Jeff Kender, Tom Recktenwald and Grant Short. Short announced on his Facebook page that he has dropped out of the race (update: he appears to have taken down that message and hasn't yet responded to inquiry). On the Republican side, incumbent Rand Paul is running against James Gould and Stephen Howard Slaughter. 

More about the Primary

Matt Markgraf joined the WKMS team as a student in January 2007. He's served in a variety of roles over the years: as News Director March 2016-September 2019 and previously as the New Media & Promotions Coordinator beginning in 2011. Prior to that, he was a graduate and undergraduate assistant. He is currently the host of the international music show Imported on Sunday nights at 10 p.m.
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