In Other News … Davis gets county clerk opponent, runaway lawyer Conn found, Jackson Heisman finalist, Lawrence talks with Oprah

Clerks: Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis will face a new challenger when she goes up for re-election next year: the man she denied a marriage license in 2015, says Newsweek, NPR, NBC News, TIME and U.S. News & World Report (AP).

David Ermold of Morehead, Ky., made his way to the courthouse on Wednesday — to file papers to run for Rowan County Clerk in the 2018 election. And he’s not alone — Ermold, an English professor at the University of Pikeville, joins at least three other Democrats going for Davis’ seat.

Davis, you may recall, made headlines for refusing to administer marriage licenses following the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling for marriage equality. She claimed her Apostolic religious beliefs compelled her to refuse. After a month or so of that, she was jailed ever-so-briefly for contempt, and Ermold and his partner, along with two other couples, sued her. After her release, she still refused to grant marriage licenses until Kentucky changed the forms, removing the line for the clerk’s signature.

Ermold told the Lexington Herald-Leader:

“I am running to restore the confidence of the people in our clerk’s office and because I believe that the leaders of our community should act with integrity and fairness, and they should put the needs of their constituents first. My commitment to Rowan County is to restore professional leadership, fairness, and responsibility to the clerk’s office. I will build upon the successes of the past, and I will seek solutions for the challenges we may still face.”

Asked about her chances for reelection, Davis said:

“That will be up to the people. I think I do a good job.”

Davis’ attorney Mat Staver told the Associated Press:

“All Davis has is one issue. Much of what the clerk does has nothing to do with wedding licenses. It’s a broad service to the public.”

Fair point, maybe. So I took a look at the qualifications for county clerk, and like a lot of our elected offices, it’s a “no experience needed” kind of job.

According to the Kentucky Legislature’s “Duties of Elected County Officials”:

To qualify for the office of county clerk, a person must be at least 21 years of age, a citizen of Kentucky, a resident of the state for two years, and a resident of the county in which he or she is a candidate for one year preceding election. The candidate must also procure from a judge of the Court of Appeals, or from a judge of the Circuit Court, a certificate that he or she has been examined by the clerk of the court under the judge’s supervision and is qualified for the office (Ky. Const., sec. 100). Before assuming the duties of office, the county clerk must take the oath of office prescribed by section 228 of the constitution and execute bond as required by KRS 62.055.

So you have to be of drinking age and live in the area you represent. Check and check.

The announcement came Wednesday, and Ermold already has a few Twitter endorsements coming in:



More as the race progresses.

Conn Man: Officials say they caught fugitive Kentucky lawyer Eric Conn in Honduras this week, according to The Washington Post, CBS News, ABC News (AP) and NPR.

We covered his arrest all the way back in the April 8, 2016 edition of the mighty “In Other News …” column. Conn pleaded guilty to a $550 million Social Security fraud scheme back in March, but on June 2, he went on the lam.

He cut off his ankle bracelet and left it in a backpack on I-75 in Lexington, made his way to Lexington and eventually Honduras, where he was found. In a Pizza Hut.


Take a look at that photo in the tweet up there — what in the world is he eating at the Pizza Hut? What is that? Is that Pizza Hut soup?

So this guy, he makes his way out of Kentucky in an accomplice-provided vehicle, shaves his head to throw people off, makes it across the border and, considering he weaseled out almost $600 million in his scheme, I’m going to assume he has a little money. And he’s laying low for over six months, and the free Pizza Hut wi-fi is what does him in.

Why was he on the wi-fi? Don’t know. But he, or someone acting on his behalf, had been in contact with Lexington press and former colleagues, asking for unflattering mug shots to be taken down, attempting to correct information he didn’t enjoy, and taunting the lawyers representing the clients he’d scammed, according to Eleanor Klibanoff over at WFPL.

Ego is more of a behavior driver than smarts sometimes. Most times. And then this is not the only deception of which Conn is guilty. Here’s his FBI wanted poster:

I’m not being critical here — at least I don’t mean to be — but that guy is not 165 pounds. He’s just not.

Said Amy Hess, special agent in charge of the Louisville field office for the FBI:

“As promised, Mr. Conn will now be held accountable for his actions, the people he deceived and the lives he shattered, including all the victims of his greed in eastern Kentucky.”

In July, while Conn was on the run, a judge gave him the maximum sentence of 12 years. I imagine his Central America excursion may add some time to that.

Courtesy of UofL Athletics

Mr. Jackson goes to New York: Lamar Jackson of your University of Louisville fighting football Cardinals is a Heisman Trophy finalist, says Sports Illustrated, USA Today and The Chicago Tribune.

Jackson joins Bryce Love of Stanford and frontrunner Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma as contenders for the most coveted prize in college football.

Jackson won the award last year but hasn’t been considered a favorite to repeat even though he’s had an arguably better season this year.

Experts and prognosticators have Mayfield, who’s been the runaway pick for most of the year — maybe all year — and still do going into the award ceremony on Saturday. Mayfield picked up the Maxwell Award for college football’s top player and the Davey O’Brien Award for best quarterback on Thursday. He also grabbed the AP Player of the Year Award yesterday, so things are certainly trending his way.

Should Jackson repeat, he’ll be the first player to win back-to-back Heisman Awards since The Ohio State’s Archie Griffin in 1974 and 1975.

Shaken, not stirred: Another big interview with Jennifer Lawrence this week, this one by Oprah Winfrey for The Hollywood Reporter.

Here’s Oprah’s first question:

“I read this wonderful book by Elizabeth Strout [“Anything is Possible”]. And in it, she was speaking about one of the characters who was so embittered and regretful, and the line she used was, “because her life did not turn out the way she had expected.” Is your life what you expected?”

Damn, Oprah. “Is your life what you expected?” is pretty deep right out of the gate. I mean, you’re not going to lead with that at dinner is what I’m saying, and it’s not going to be your go-to for small talk.

Let me ask you a question: Are you the person you thought you’d be?

“Sir, I’m just waiting on my coffee.”

Sure. Let me ask you something else: If you met yourself on the street, what do you think your first impression would be? And would you be friends?

Big takeaway from the interview, at least according to TIME, Vanity Fair and The Hill: “Jennifer Lawrence Would Like to Throw a Martini in Trump’s Face.”

Here’s the exchange from the interview:

Have you met Trump?
No, never.

Do you want to?
I think so. I’ve got a pretty good speech. And it ends with a martini to the face. (Laughter.) I have something to say for all of them. I watch different characters on the news, and I’m like, “You just wait.”

If that moment comes, you would be prepared?
Oh, I would, definitely. Oh my god, I’ve been waiting for this moment. I’ll give you a hint — it’s not nice. You wouldn’t want me to say it to you.

The A.V. Club and HuffPost say the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., came to his father’s defense on Twitter:

So not the most full-throated defense you’ll ever read. And a little too on-the-nose.

“I’m so stressed, I’m about to jump out of the window.”
“You won’t jump. It’s really far.”

HuffPost says she also reveals the best piece of advice she’s ever received, which coincidentally enough came from Winfrey: “You have to teach somebody how to treat you.”

* * *

James Franco’s “The Disaster Artist” opens today, taking a behind-the-scenes look at “The Room,” what is often called the best worst movie made in the history of cinema. The “Citizen Kane” of Bad Movies.

Franco writes, directs and stars as Tommy Wiseau, who wrote, directed and starred in “The Room.”

Here’s the trailer. Warning for cursing:

And here’s a scene-by-scene comparison of the two films:

And a primer for the original:

It’s currently sitting at 95 percent on Rotten Tomatoes with 188 reviews counted, so another good one for December until this little “Star Wars” movie comes out on the 15th.

See you next week.