The upcoming elections make this year the most important politically since Abraham Lincoln was elected president, former gubernatorial candidate Larry Forgy told a group of more than 50 Thursday.
Forgy, wearing an Andy Barr sticker on his sport coat, was the keynote speaker at this year’s Lincoln Day Dinner hosted by the Franklin County Republican Women’s Club.
He mixed light-hearted stories with a prediction that President Barack Obama would lose in an “astounding way” come November.
“This is the year we parcel out the future political philosophy of the United States and do so for the duration in so far as we can see it,” Forgy said.
“This is the year when we decide if we are going to go down the path toward European socialism, toward a form of government that does more to hand out money than to earn money, or whether we are going to return to a system and political philosophy that keeps this nation on the path that it has been on since the founding.”
Forgy, who lost to Gov. Paul Patton in 1995 by about 21,000 votes, said this year’s election boils down to unemployment and the national debt. He cited the 8.3 percent unemployment rate nationally and 14 million jobless Americans who are “gasping for economic breath.”
He said he supports former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who he described as “sucking wind” in the Republican presidential nomination, but predicted Kentuckians would vote for former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania in the May 22 primary.
While some have cited the fierce battle for Republican delegates as evidence of a party division, Forgy disagrees and says the nominee will take the White House. He predicted that Obama will lose Kentucky by 25 percent in November.
“Whoever gets appointed, be proud of him and get out there and work for him,” he said. “Get out there and help him because I’m telling you, this election is so important.”
Forgy’s half-hour speech followed brief comments by the Republican slate of candidates for state and congressional races.
Barr, a Lexington attorney who narrowly lost to Rep. Ben Chandler in 2010, said he’s running to restore the American dream and told the audience that Obama’s agenda has hurt Kentucky.
While recent redistricting has changed the makeup of the 6th district, Barr said Chandler can’t hide from his record.
“Ben Chandler might be able to change some of his constituents, but he can’t change a very immovable fact, and that fact is that he endorsed Barack Obama for president, he voted for Nancy Pelosi for speaker, and he has enabled Barack Obama’s big government, big spending, massive debt, job-killing agenda.”
Other Republicans who made campaign pitches included Frank Haynes, a retired military veteran who’s running for state senator against Sen. Julian Carroll, and Don Stosberg, a consultant who’s running for state representative against Rep. Derrick Graham.
Both said people have called them crazy for challenging incumbents.
“Let me just tell you, I’m a conscience crazy,” Stosberg said, noting Republicans could win a majority in the state House. “When I pull an upset victory, they’ll call me visionary, astute, brilliant, et cetera.”
Some in local nonpartisan races also spoke, including mayoral candidates Donna Hecker, Bill May and Kyle Thompson and City Commission candidates Tom Haynes, Louis McClain and Robert Roach.