You can find out a lot about a guy by taking a look at who he hangs around with.
This week, Jacob Conway took a dive into Kentucky’s 37th District Senate election. He touched on Republican candidate Chris Thieneman’s perennial residency questions and while doing so jogged my memory on a few things.
Here’s what I know and what insiders are saying about the race.
It is an often-discussed subject and believed to be a fact by many residents of southwest Louisville that Chris Thieneman does not reside here. His residence has been called into question every time he has run except for his failed and embarrassing bid for mayor. Voters didn’t care if he lived on Mars. They just wanted him to go away.
In 2010, Thieneman tried to teach Tea Party candidate David Toborowski how to lie about his residence during Tobo’s run for school board.
But they got busted by the local news cameras and Tobo was tossed from the ballot. It was revealed during the news investigation that both Thieneman and Toborowski listed the same address in East Louisville, and that Thieneman owned the house.
Insiders insist only Thieneman actually lived there.
Toborowski went down in flames while denying he lied about his residence, claiming Chris Thieneman was a good friend with a big heart who allowed him to move in just minutes before the filing deadline. Birds of a feather flock together.
Thieneman is a polarizing figure in Louisville. He has a notorious reputation and is perhaps best well-known for developing a despised trailer park in the middle of a Pleasure Ridge Park subdivision in 1998.
During his 2010 primary race for mayor, Thieneman admitted to the Courier Journal editorial board that he paid a $10,000 dollar bribe to get the project through the planning commission despite well-organized and vocal opposition.
So, there’s your guy who wants to be a state senator.
Thieneman owns many properties – both commercial and residential– throughout Louisville. But no one has ever determined exactly where he lives. His Republican primary opponent Doug Hawkins registered two complaints citing Thieneman’s own filing paperwork that listed his address as 7650 Dixie Highway. That is the address of a “Fort Locks” self-storage business that Thieneman owns.
And, yes, we are certain he doesn’t live in a storage locker.
In the other corner, the Democrats have incumbent Perry Clark.
Clark is a wild man who springs from some good political loins. Last summer, while he was being drawn out of his seat during the redistricting process, he penned a letter to President Obama urging him to resign.
Clark believes Obama violated the Constitution when – during the “debt ceiling” debacle of 2011 – the President appointed a dozen people to a committee dubbed the “Super Congress.” He also believes Obama is defending the “international bankers” who caused the financial meltdown, and calls for the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933.
That isn’t the weird part.
Perry Clark is often portrayed as a conspiracy theorist and an acolyte of convicted felon Lyndon LaRouche. LaRouche is well known for comparing President Obama to Adolf Hitler. Big-time fans of LaRouche (dubbed “LaRouchies”) say that Perry Clark is the highest elected “LaRouchie” in the nation and should be elected President of the United States.
That’s the weird part.
Clark denies comparing Obama directly to Hitler, saying he used the language, “to upset people.”
“I wanted them angry, I wanted them thinking, I meant for it to be brash and I meant for it to be incendiary … people have to think about where we are.”
Amen to that.
Insiders say at the time Clark wrote the letter to Obama, “he was smack-dab in the middle of the redistricting process. They had drawn him out of his seat,” and many thought this was his way of going out with a bang.
The letter received harsh judgement from local media and was roundly rejected by local Democrats, but is considered by several deep insiders to be among the most shrewd political moves in the history of the Commonwealth.
It was stated in Jacob Conway’s post that the Democrats cannot afford to lose this election and he is right.
But nothing says “crazy” like living in a storage locker.