In other news, I, too, wish Ryan Alessi the best. I don't read his articles or get on Pol Watchers as much as I used to in the past. He wrote his last political column, which was published this morning.
After more than four years of writing the weekly political notebook column, this is my final one.As Joseph Gerth at the CJ notes, the race is on for Senate 2010. Gerth even went far enough to give us the odds on the race.
Later this month, I will begin covering Kentucky's colleges and universities, as well as higher education policies and trends, for the Herald-Leader.
It's a new challenge that I'm eager to tackle. But it doesn't signal a cutback in the Herald-Leader's commit ment to covering state government and politics. Eventually, a new political writer will be named.
For the nearly six years I served in that capacity, I had the tremendous fortune of learning from some of the most knowledgeable and insightful sources and analysts, who patiently taught me the history and nuances of Kentucky's unique and colorful brand of politics.
And although the ranks of the Frankfort press corps have shrunk in recent years, a host of talented reporters remain. Many of those journalists — starting with the dean of the Capitol press corps, the Herald-Leader's Jack Brammer, and including some of this newspaper's chief competitors — unknowingly served as role models for me.
To all of them and to those dedicated readers of the Herald-Leader's political coverage, I will be forever grateful.
Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo -- he's been making more appearances in Louisville recently than Mayor Jerry Abramson, and following the 2004 race that he narrowly lost to Bunning, he's been itching for a rematch. But other Democrats may have more support from the party elite and he'd have to give up his position on Gov. Steve Beshear's ticket in 2011 if he were to run. Odds of entering the Democratic primary: 2-1.
Attorney General Jack Conway -- says he's looking at the race and people around him say he wants to run. Youngest among those looking at the Senate, Conway could build up the kind of clout and power that Sen. Mitch McConnell has amassed in four terms. But he won't run without the OK of the next two potential candidates. Odds: 3-1.
State Auditor Crit Luallen -- like Mongiardo, she's had a high profile at Democratic events in Louisville lately. Respected by Democrats and Republicans alike, she's amassed a strong record as auditor. But she's balked at running for higher office in the past and could step aside to give Conway a chance. Odds: 5-1.
U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler -- being governor and U.S. senator has long seemed to be the birthright of the grandson of the late senator and governor A.B. "Happy" Chandler. But he likes what he's doing in the House. If he won, he'd have to give up his seat on the powerful Appropriations Committee. If he lost, he'd have to go back to practicing law -- nahhh. Probably not a candidate unless he gets a call from Barack Obama. Odds: 25-1.
Former Gov. Paul Patton -- sound crazy? That's been the talk around Frankfort. Patton was seen as the presumptive Democratic candidate in 2004 until a sexual affair seemingly ended his political career. He's re-emerged in Frankfort on the Council for Postsecondary Education. While he told one reporter he's not interested, scuttlebutt says otherwise. Odds: 50-1.
Bruce Lunsford -- he's already spent $25 million of his own fortune running for office. What's another $10 million? While some might counsel against another run despite a respectable showing against Sen. Mitch McConnell, Lunsford could be feeling his oats. And Sen. Chuck Schumer owes Lunsford for keeping McConnell and his money tied up in Kentucky. He could go unless his daughters, who stand to inherit less than they did five years ago, tie him up and hide him in the basement. Odds: 25-1.
Darlene Fitzgerald Price -- who? She's a former U.S. customs agent who lives in Whitley City. She has announced she's running but will find it tough sledding against any of the other candidates listed here. Odds: 1-1