Jim’s Political Notebook: Was it shady subterfuge or smart political maneuvering?

Nelson County Gazette

Friday, April 29, 2022 — The other shoe finally dropped. At just after 10 p.m. Thursday, April 14th, I received an announcement from the Legislative Research Commission that 50th District State Rep. Chad McCoy was going to retire from office at the end of his current term on Dec. 31, 2022.

“Wait a minute Brooks!” you’re probably thinking, “Didn’t McCoy file as a candidate for re-election and is on the May 17th primary ballot?”


Yes he did. And yes, he will be on that ballot.

McCoy’s announcement completes the last step in what I’m calling “The Worst Kept Political Secret of 2022 (so far).”

While we don’t know when McCoy made the decision to retire, we do know that whatever discussions had taken place also tipped off Trey Bradley, and prompted him to file election finance paperwork on Jan. 3rd of this year.

What Bradley did not realize was that the election finance filing he completed Jan. 3 became publiclly visible the moment he completed it.

And the appearance of that campaign finance document tipped the hand of the local GOP king makers. The media questions aimed at Bradley put him in the awkward position of trying to explain why he — the county GOP party chairman — was challenging a sitting legislator from our own party.

The irony here is that when the previous party chairman — Don Thrasher — did the exact same thing two years ago, Thrasher was vigorously denounced for it.

But as we all expected, there was no one saying anything bad about Bradley’s primary challenge. Hmmm.

After the surprise finance campaign filing, Bradley and McCoy both went on to complete their candidate filings. But the fix was in — by this time, everyone in the local GOP expected McCoy to announce his retirement, mostly likely when the General Assembly adjourned.

Surprise, surprise.


I assume that by design, McCoy’s announcement came after the candidate filing deadline. The move kept the Democrats from recruting a candidate for what is basically now an open seat. This little subterfuge was successful in its goal of keeping the 50th District seat a GOP-held position.

Call me naive, but it strikes me as a really distasteful way to operate a political party.

Maybe these political shenanigans are considered “pay back” aimed at Democrats for the days when they were the dominant force in Frankfort and the GOP was the minority.

No matter what the reasons might be, there’s something unsavory knowing your political party is playing the role of “king maker” by playing these kind of charades.

Nothing illegal was done, and I expect all parties involved will swear my assumptions are off-base. Bradley has already publicly denied there was any “arrangement” during his PLG debate with Candy Massaroni.

For what its worth, I’ve not talked a a single member of the local GOP who privately did not believe this whole thing was a set-up.

It brought me back to the hard truth I heard during a class many years ago with Jim Highland, my public affairs reporting professor at Western Kentucky University.

One day in class, while talking about covering local politics and political parties, Highland offered his insight from his own years of experience.

“Observing politics up close is a lot like watching sausage being made,” he said. “Its almost always ugly and unappetizing, and as a reporter, you’re going to need a damned strong stomach.”

Mr. Highland, you were right.

Despite my grumbling, I don’t plan to leave the GOP. From where I sit,, they need whiny asses like me now, more than ever.

And at the end of the day and all the dust settles, in the race for 50th District House we are left with two great candidates in Trey Bradley and Candy Massaroni. Each desires to win and each seems genuinely dedicated to serving their constituents to the best of their ability.

“BRADFORD & BROOKS” CANDIDATE INTERVIEWS. Margie Bradford and I will continue our series of primary candidates for office from 11 a.m. to noon every Wednesday between now and May 17th.

You can view previous interviews by visiting the Nelson County Gazette’s YouTube channel.

The remaining candidates are:

Wednesday, May 4, 2022: Bill Gentry, Republican candidate for judge executive.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022: David Avis, Democratic candidate for District 3 magistrate.

Tune in to WBRT on 1320 AM, 97.1 FM, streaming live on the website, www.WBRTCountry.com. The interviews are also videotaped and uploaded to the Nelson County Gazette’s YouTube channel and shared on Facebook.


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