Democrat will run as independent in Kentucky Senate race

September 23, 2013

Democrat Ed Marksberry, who told Post Politics two months ago that he was considering running for Kentucky's Senate seat as an independent, is now taking steps to do just that.

Marksberry told WFPL-FM that he will drop out of the Democratic primary against Alison Lundergan Grimes and file as an independent.

From WFPL-FM:

Saying Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes isn't speaking to progressives or their issues, Kentucky U.S. Senate candidate Ed Marksberry is dropping out of the primary to run as an independent.

Marksberry is an Owensboro building contractor who has been running a decidedly liberal campaign to take on Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell in next year's election.

In a telephone interview with WFPL, Marksberry, who ran for Congress in 2012, says he plans to speak to the environment, poverty and gay rights in particular.

Marksberry says Grimes is a good Democrat, but she has given up the most important fights against McConnell to pander to special interests.

"I want to give empowerment back to those that are impoverished, back to those who understand what the environment is experiencing right now and back to those who created the middle-class," says Marksberry. "And the only way to do that is to speak about the issues. And I hope that Alison Lundergan Grimes one day will open up and talk about the issues."

Marksberry had been suing the state party, alleging it has favored Grimes's campaign despite bylaws requiring it to stay neutral in primaries.

While the meagerly funded Marksberry stands virtually no chance of winning the Senate seat, independent and third-party candidates can steal votes from major-party candidates and affect close races. In this case, Marksberry would be running to Grimes's left and, to the extent he can win votes they would likely come at Grimes's expense.

Marksberry ran for Congress in 2010, taking less than one-third of the vote as the Democratic nominee against Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.).

McConnell is the Democrats' top target in the 2014 election.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix, the Post’s top political blog.
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Aaron Blake | September 23, 2013