State Police Union announces endorsements in NKY races

Mark Payne
Mark Payne
Mark Payne is the government and politics reporter for LINK nky. Email him at [email protected]

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The Kentucky Fraternal Order of Police released their endorsements for political offices on Monday, including in Northern Kentucky.

The group makes its decisions based on candidates that reach out to them, according to Ryan Straw, the vice president and governmental affairs director for the Kentucky FOP. 

The state FOP makes decisions for U.S. congressional, senate races, and state constitutional officers. For legislative seats, they take input from local lodges around the state.

There are 64 lodges around the state with nine local lodges, but not all of them participate, Straw said. 

“We held several candidate forums around the state this year, and we announced that we were doing that and that tended to get people to come in,” Straw said. 

In Northern Kentucky, three House Districts (60, 61, 66) didn’t receive endorsements because none of those candidates reached out to the FOP, Straw said, elaborating that they can make additional endorsements at a later time.

The group selected only four House Democrats statewide, with Rep. Rachel Roberts (D-Newport) being the only Democrat endorsed in Northern Kentucky. 

One of the reasons the group selected Roberts is because she worked with them on House Bill 206, a bill that decertifies police officers if they’re convicted of sexual assault offenses. 

“That was something that the FOP felt really near and dear to support because we don’t want bad cops on the streets,” Straw said. “Roberts was a champion for that.”

Her opponent, Republican Jerry Gearding, has been arrested twice for alleged domestic violence and another time for violating the conditions of his release. The FOP did not endorse Gearding.

This led to a diversion in 2020 that forced him to move to South Carolina briefly. 

(Diversion programs allow offenders to seek alternative help in place of charges, and in Kentucky, if a defendant completes the provisions of the agreement can have their charges dismissed, and it no longer constitutes a criminal conviction.)

“I don’t believe that he would represent law enforcement the way that we would hope in Frankfort,” Straw said. “Not only has he been accused of those crimes, and had you know, what’s obviously fact in there, guilty or not, I mean, he’s had consistent run-ins with the police.”

Straw added that law enforcement in the area were in overwhelming favor of Roberts, and “it wasn’t even close.” 

In the 24th Senate District, Straw said that the endorsement between Republican Shelley Funke Frommeyer and Democrat Rene Heinrich was close, but they ultimately chose Frommeyer. 

“She won by five votes, but Rene Heinrich was highly considered and did have support within the law,” Straw said. 

Here are the rest of the endorsements for politicians representing Northern Kentucky: 

20th Senate District: Gex Williams (R). Williams faces Democrat Teresa Barton in this open seat.

63rd House District: Kim Banta (R). Unopposed this year.

64th House District: Kim Moser (R). Moser, an incumbent, faces Democrat Anita Isaacs.

65th House District: Stephanie Dietz (R). Dietz is challenging incumbent Democratic State Rep. Buddy Wheatley.

68th House District: Mike Clines (R). Clines faces Democrat Kelly Jones in this open seat.

69th House District: Steve Doan (R). Doan defeated incumbent Republican State Rep. Adam Koenig in the May primary and will face Democrat Chris Brown in November.

78th House District: Mark Hart (R). Unopposed this year.

U.S. Senate: Senator Rand Paul (R). Paul, an incumbent, faces Democrat Charles Booker.

4th Congressional District: Congressman Thomas Massie (R). Massie, an incumbent, faces Democrat Matt Lehman.

Kentucky Court of Appeals: 6th District/Division 2: Susanne Cetrulo. Cetrulo was appointed to this seat and faces Bob Winter in November’s election for a full term.

Kentucky Supreme Court: 6th District: Justice Michelle Keller. Keller, an incumbent, faces State Rep. Joe Fischer for the seat.

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