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State Democrats File Complaint in Covington House Race

The Kentucky Democratic Party announced on Monday that it has filed a complaint against Jordan Huizenga in the race for the 65th House District, a seat being vacated by retiring Democratic State Rep. Arnold Simpson of Covington, who announced on December 31 that he would not seek re-election.

Huizenga, a Republican and current city commissioner in Covington, is accused of violating state election finance law by KDP. He faces former Covington fire chief Buddy Wheatley, the Democratic nominee, in November's election. In the complaint, the Democrats allege that Huizenga unlawfully transferred nearly $7,000 from his city commission campaign fund to his state representative campaign fund, and failed to file his annual report for the most recent city commission campaign. They accuse Huizenga of submitting "an allegedly falsified amended report to (the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance)."

“The voters are getting a good look at why Buddy Wheatley is the best candidate in this race. He’s got the experience and judgment to do the job from day one,” said Brad Bowman, communications director for the Kentucky Democratic Party.

The Democratic Party stated that Huizenga was personally recruited into the race by Republican U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell’s newly-named campaign manager, Shane Noem.

“(Wheatley's) opponent has been unable to comply with the basic ethics and campaign finance requirements and isn’t ready for prime time. How can the voters trust him to do the job if he can’t even get through the election without a babysitter?,” Bowman said in a statement.

The Democrats called Huizenga "young and inexperienced" and said that he has been inconsistent with filing deadlines related to campaigns.

According to the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission (KLEC), the Democrats said, Huizenga’s financial disclosure for his House race was received on April 12, 2018 — more than a month after it was due — and almost two weeks after KLEC sent a reminder about his failure to comply. They said Huizenga's financial disclosure for the 2014 race, in which Huizenga was elected to the city commission in his first try, was filed late, and that his 2017 financial disclosure statement did not list his and his wife's development business, Built In Properties.

Huizenga is director of development at Children, Inc. and his wife, Lauren Huizenga, is an attorney.

Huizenga, who is serving his second term on the city commission in Covington, released a statement to The River City News after the complaint was filed.

"So, Buddy Wheatley’s first official campaign act is to hide behind his handlers in Frankfort to make accusations that range from demonstrably false to innuendo and half-truths. These are the same, tired campaign tactics that have turned off regular people who no longer believe government exists for them," Huizenga said in the statement. "That’s why turnout in Kenton County for the May primary was only 10 percent. The last thing the people of this District need is for professional political operatives to insert themselves into this race.

"This is exactly why we don’t want Buddy Wheatley as our next representative."

"These are serious allegations by the KDP," said Wheatley, in a statement to The River City News. "I think the matter is between KDP and Jordan. As an attorney, I know procedural requirements are important. Every candidate must comply. Transparency and timely records filing are eseential to fair elections and maintaining public trust in our democratic system."

"Frankly, I hoped this campaign would be about real issues that affect the lives of real people," Huizenga continued. "Sadly, Buddy has allowed his handlers to take the low road right out of the gate. That’s what you do when you have no new ideas, no vision for making things better, no regard for the voters, and your own baggage to worry about. You distract. Same old, same old.

"The people of this district can expect more of the same from Buddy Wheatley. They’ve certainly seen it before. What the people of the 65th district want is a great education for their kids. They want jobs they can raise a family on. And they want problems to be solved, not politics as usual. I look forward to talking about these and other real issues, and will be happy to engage Buddy on any or all of them. That is, if his handlers let him."

The 65th House District includes northern Covington, Latonia, Park Hills, Ludlow, and Bromley.

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher
Photo: Jordan Huizenga (via Facebook)