Price on Politics: Three important midterm races for Bowling Green

Price Wilborn, Commentary writer

On Nov. 8, Americans will go to the polls, electing officials for all levels of government. Races from local county clerks to United States senators will be decided. Races impacting all Kentuckians will be decided. From the State House to the United States Senate, voices will be heard. Below are examinations of three races: the Kentucky State House 20th District, the Second Congressional District of Kentucky, and the United States Senate.

Kentucky State House District 20

The current incumbent and Democratic nominee for the Kentucky House of Representatives 20th District is WKU history professor Patti Minter. Minter has held the seat since 2019. She serves on the House Committees for State Government, Judiciary and Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection. Minter has been a professor at WKU for 28 years.


The Republican nominee for the seat is Kevin Jackson. According to his campaign website, Jackson “is a lifelong resident of Warren County. He spent 32 years as a teacher, guidance counselor, administrator, and coach in the Warren, Edmonson, and Barren County school systems.” Currently, Jackson is a financial consultant for Studle Financial Services in Bowling Green, as well as a member of the Warren County School Board, the vice chairman of the BG-WC Community Education Board of Directors and serves as a member of the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce. Jackson is a graduate of WKU.

Minter believes in increasing funding for public education, ensuring state workers have adequate pensions, expanding access to affordable health care, making higher education more affordable, working for more rights to unionize and modernizing drug policies in Kentucky.

Jackson, if elected, hopes to put people back to work, “move the economy in the right direction and away from policies causing inflation, supply chain issues and rising gas prices,” improve Bowling Green’s infrastructure, continue supporting first responders and law enforcement, continue supporting all levels of public education and move Kentucky away from government dependence.

Minter comes off as the more serious candidate. Of course, this is in part due to her having held the seat since 2019. She has the experience of running multiple times before, as well as having the support of the Kentucky Democratic Party. She has a record to run on – one of bipartisanship cooperation and experience.

Of course, Jackson does not have this. He does have a respectable record of public service. For over three decades he served in various positions in Bowling Green and surrounding communities. He continues to serve the community through the Chamber of Commerce and the Warren County Board of Education.

When it comes to the 20th district seat, however, Minter goes more in-depth about her policy positions. Where she explains why she believes in the issues she cares about, Jackson gives one sentence explanations of his platform positions. Jackson hits all of the Republican talking points, but Minter goes deeper.

Through her website and canvassing events, she makes an effort to connect with voters. She shows a genuine desire to work with and for the citizens of Bowling Green, one that Jackson struggles to show.

Kentucky’s Second Congressional District

Bowling Green is part of Kentucky’s Second Congressional District, helping to elect a member of the United States House of Representatives. The incumbent, Republican Brett Guthrie, has held this seat since winning election in 2008. Guthrie serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, as well as that committee’s Health Subcommittee.

Prior to election to the U.S. House of Representatives, Guthrie served in the U.S. Army as an Artillery Officer at Fort Campbell. Upon his honorable discharge, he went to earn a Master’s Degree from Yale and worked in Bowling Green as Vice President of Trace Die Cast.

On the issues, Guthrie hits each of the Republican checkboxes. He is pro-life, received an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association, and works to increase border security, “stop Biden’s inflationary agenda,” fight the drug epidemic in Kentucky, protect Medicare and social security, and continue supporting the police.

Guthrie’s opponent and the Democratic nominee for the seat is Hank Linderman. A musician born in Florida and raised in Louisville, Linderman moved west in 1983 to pursue his musical career. Linderman moved back to Grayson County, Kentucky, twelve years ago. In this time, Linderman has run for Second Congressional District seat twice before: once in 2018 and once in 2020. 

Linderman’s platform consists of three major points: a “Contract for Rural and Working America,” fighting inequality in America, and the N∅PE button campaign. The Contract for Rural and Working America is a wide-ranging pledge made by Linderman to take on issues like restoring healthcare, encouraging farming by individuals and families, instating a living wage, creating infrastructure for rural broadband, and legalizing cannabis.

Linderman hopes to tackle inequality in the United States by “improving schooling, improving our social safety net, and investing in our people as an investment in our Nation.” He also hopes to make the economy work for all.

N∅PE stands for “No Plastics in my Environment.” The N∅PE campaign was started by Linderman’s campaign as a way for Kentuckians to show those around you that you do not wish to use single-use plastics. 

Linderman faces the same problems Kevin Jackson faces in the 20th state house district. Linderman does not come off as a serious candidate. While the Second Congressional includes larger towns and cities like Bowling Green, Owensboro, and Elizabethtown, it also includes a large portion of rural central Kentuckians.

If Linderman – or any Democrat – hopes to win in the Second Congressional District, they must run on more moderate platforms. Linderman’s includes increasing resources available to small farmers and the creation of a Secretary of Rural Affairs, but it does not move closer to the middle.

Linderman’s proposals are all worth it. They focus on securing a future for all Kentuckians, young and old. The fact is, however, that these proposals are those that Kentuckians are not ready for. In order to be taken seriously and win, Linderman and Democrats must speak to Kentuckians and work to bridge the gap.

United States Senate

The largest-profile race on the ballot in November is the contest between Rand Paul and Charles Booker for one of Kentucky’s two U.S. Senate seats.

The incumbent is Republican Rand Paul. Paul has served in the Senate since his election in 2010. Paul moved to Bowling Green in 1993, serving the community as an ophthalmologist. While operating his clinic, he founded the Southern Kentucky Lions Eye Clinic. Paul serves on four Senate committees: Foreign Relations; Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions; Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; and Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

Since the election of Donald Trump in 2016, Paul has been one of the former president’s most vocal supporters. As such, Paul furthers Trump’s ideas and platforms. Paul is about putting America first, protecting second amendment rights, ensuring parents have a choice in sending their children to quality schools, ensuring the right to abortion is not codified, lowering government spending and ensuring peace through strength.

Paul’s Democratic opponent is Charles Booker. Booker was born, raised and currently lives in the West End of Louisville. He graduated from the Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville and served in the Kentucky State HOuse of Representatives for one term from 2018 to 2020.

Booker gained statewide recognition by running for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate in 2020. Booker lost the primary to Amy McGrath by just under three percentage points. After losing the primary, Booker created the grassroots organization Hood to the Holler. According to Booker’s campaign website, this is an “organization to build on the values that have animated [Booker’s] whole life, and break down barriers between Kentuckians and their government.”

The foundation of Booker’s platform is what he calls the Kentucky New Deal. During his March 2022 visit to WKU, Booker said that the Kentucky New Deal “is looking at us taking ownership of our sustainable future.”

The Booker campaign website claims the Kentucky New Deal “will be the largest investment in the people of Kentucky that we’ve ever seen, ending poverty, delivering quality healthcare to everyone in our Commonwealth, and fixing our crumbling infrastructure.”

Booker has not found himself in the same position that Jackson and Linderman find themselves in. Booker has proven to be surprisingly competitive against Rand Paul in this election. Booker is further left than Amy McGrath was against Mitch McConnell in 2020, yet he has a greater chance at winning. 

Booker has toured the state the entire time he has been campaigning. He has spoken with those in big cities like Louisville and Lexington as well as Kentuckians in the most rural parts of Eastern Kentucky. At each stop, Booker has found support.

Booker’s travel around the state and his continuing efforts to reach out to and speak directly with all the people of Kentucky gives hope. Hope that change is possible. Hope that the deep divides in Kentucky can be bridged.

Charles Booker can bring actual change. His platform is further left, but it still protects the rights, freedoms and ideals of those on the other side of the aisle. He represents a younger, changing Kentucky electorate, one that is ready for a change.

Go Vote!

No matter your views on any of the above candidates, or any candidate that will be on the ballot in November, it is important to have your voice heard. Democracy cannot function without you.

Voter turnout in midterm elections has historically been 50-60% lower than in a presidential election year. Americans believe that the most important election is that of the president. While this is true in some cases, the majority of laws and decisions that govern them are passed in state legislatures, enforced by state executives and upheld by state judiciaries.

These elections define at a minimum the next two years, but can change the tide for decades to come. If you do not vote, your voice is not represented. One cannot complain about those in office if they did not participate in the democratic process.

Voting, no matter your registered party, is one of the most important things you can do. Please, ensure your voice is heard.

Commentary writer Price Wilborn can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @pricewilborn