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Conversations from the Four Rivers Region

Archive for May 19th, 2010

And So It Goes…

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by Todd Hatton

Yesterday’s primary vote capped off months of intense international interest in Kentucky’s Republican contest between Secretary of State Trey Grayson and Bowling Green eye surgeon Rand Paul.  I expect the months of intense international media interest in the general election campaign to begin any minute now.

And there’s plenty for them to consider.  But, as the vote totals filter through the political and media landscape, I must respectfully disagree with the assertion floating around out there that Paul’s victory is as telling overall as it’s being portrayed.  This obviously isn’t a referendum on an incumbent and it isn’t as much of a referendum on a given agenda as it is, in this one race, an expression of the Republican base.  Consider: Grayson had accrued endorsements from former Vice president Dick Cheney, Conservatives of America, and the conservative-leaning U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  Those are the ones he kept, anyway.  Dr. James Dobson, formerly of Focus on the Family, rescinded his earlier this month and switched to Dr. Paul claiming that he had received wrong information about Paul’s platform.

Grayson did, however, score a relative rarity, a pre-primary election endorsement from U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell just a few months after he said he wouldn’t do so until after the primary.

And yet, Trey Grayson lost.

It could therefore be said that the Republican Party lost yesterday’s Republican primary, the institutional party at any rate, and if we concede McConnell’s tacit approval of the Tea Party, one has to wonder if there’s any soul-searching going on in the minority leader’s offices today.

Now, the $64,000 question is how the race between the Tea Party-backed Paul and MoveOn-endorsed Conway will play out.  Paul’s win has significantly energized his base; his highly organized supporters turning out in droves this November goes without saying.  And considering that Paul’s total far outstripped anyone else’s, he’ll have a strong showing.

On the other hand, Conway’s vote totals were higher than Paul’s by almost 22 thousand.  And if you add Lieutenant Governor Dan Mongiardo’s numbers (224,989) to Conway’s (228,531) and factor the Grayson vote (124,710) into Paul’s column (and throw Johnson’s, Martin’s, Scribner’s, and Stephenson’s in for good measure to bring the grand total to 351,927), it could presage a Democratic victory in the fall.  That is, if Conway can get those voters to the polls.

Conway also cannily reached out to Grayson voters who may be disenchanted with Paul’s particular brand of populism.  If he peels enough of them off while retaining his former Democratic competitors’ votes, Conway may have a close, though substantial win on his hands.

Of course, this is all predicated on Jack Conway having an easier time appealing to more moderate Republicans than Rand Paul would drawing off conservative Democrats from Conway.  And that’s further balanced by the fact that the Republicans tend to be an ideologically more disciplined group most of the time.

Either way, no matter how significant Paul’s win yesterday may be, it’s still too early to tell if any damage has been done to the establishment wing of the Republican Party.  After incumbent President Lyndon Johnson’s landslide 1964 victory over Senator Barry Goldwater, the pundits got busy writing the Republicans’ obituary only to have it thrown back at them when Richard Nixon beat Hubert Humphrey in 1968.  It may be that the best gauge of where the Republicans are will come in the fall, when we’ll find out how a Tea Party candidate fares against a moderate Democrat in a rather red state.

Written by Todd Hatton

May 19, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Mongiardo Recalls Recanvass

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Kentucky Public Radio Capital Reporter Tony McVeigh reports the Mongiardo campaign is now recalling its recanvass request.

Click here (or scroll down) for regional election results.

Written by Chad Lampe

May 19, 2010 at 10:26 am

morning cram (post primary edition)

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Did you vote?

KY~ Dr. Dan and Trey bow out of the US Senate race, leaving it to Jack and Rand. Murray’s mayoral race drops its 24-year-old candidate. Hopkinsville votes to keep Mayor Dan Kemp another four years. CaldwellGraves and Livingston County Judge Executive incumbents win. Calloway and Marshall County Sheriff incumbents win and Carlisle County elects a new one. 45th District Judge race was almost a 3-way split and the incumbent loses. Gooch wins another 12th District term.

TN~ Another bank robbery in Paris prompts a manhunt for a ‘shaggy blond 35-year-old’ dude.

Matt’s good read: “Leviathan”

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by Scott Westerfeld

Buy this book on Amazon.
(Your purchase supports WKMS!)

Product Description:
It is the cusp of World War I, and all the European powers are arming up. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ fabricated animals as their weaponry. Their Leviathan is a whale airship, and the most masterful beast in the British fleet. With the Great War brewing, Alek’s and Deryn’s paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them both aboard the Leviathan on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure. One that will change both their lives forever.

Matt Markgraf says:
“Leviathan is a quintessential steampunk, alternate history thrill ride featuring two young protagonists, Alek and Deryn, who form an unlikely team to save an embattled Europe in the throes of WWI. Don’t let the huge walking machines and living airships fool you – this book is of literary quality, written with the finest attention to detail and a strong emphasis on characterization. Luckily, it’s the first of a series, with book two scheduled to come out this fall.”

Check out our Good Reads page for more recommended books.

Written by Matt Markgraf

May 19, 2010 at 9:00 am