10/21/2009 12:00AM

Meyocks plans run for office


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Terry Meyocks, a Lexington-based racing consultant who is a former New York Racing Association executive, said Wednesday he will campaign next year to unseat a Republican senator who opposed a plan to authorize slot machines at racetracks.

Meyocks, 58, filed papers on Oct. 1 to run for the state Senate seat for the 12th district, which covers much of southern Fayette County, where Lexington is located. The papers stated that he was a Democrat. The seat is currently held by Alice Forgy Kerr, who voted against a slot-machine bill supported by Democrats earlier this year as a member of the Senate's Budget Committee.

Kentucky law requires legislators to live in the state for six years before they can hold office. Meyocks moved to Lexington in 2004, shortly after resigning as chief operating officer of the New York Racing Association as part of a deal with prosecutors who were investigating fraud in the association's mutuels department. The election will be held in November 2010.

Meyocks said that he first began considering a run for office this summer after the Senate budget committee rejected the slot-machine bill. Kerr was one of a number of Senators who voted against the bill.

"She turned her back on the racing industry," Meyocks said. "She turned her back on racing and Keeneland."

Following the defeat of the bill, a lobbying organization formed by the racing industry to push for slot machines at racetracks, the Kentucky Equine Education Project, said that they would work to defeat Republican members of the state's legislature. Republicans currently have a majority in the State Senate, with 20 members to the Democrat's 17, while Democrats have a dominant majority in the House.

Disagreement over slot machines has dominated the political discussion in Kentucky this year. Democrats have favored plans to legalize slot machines at Kentucky racetracks, while Republicans have opposed the bills that the Democrats have introduced.

On Tuesday, two Republican members of the Senate said that they would support legislation next year that would call for constitutional amendments on slot machines at racetracks.

Sen. President David Williams, who has been vilified this year by Democrats and the racing industry for his opposition to slot-machine legislation, said that he would introduce a bill that would ban the introduction of casino-type gambling without a state referendum.

In addition, Sen. Damon Thayer, a consultant to the racing industry who represents a conservative district, said he would introduce legislation in the Senate next year that would call for a constitutional amendment to legalize slot-machine gambling and then let county voters decide whether to approve casinos in their counties.

Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, released a statement on Tuesday night calling both measures "cynical" and "political."