Political This And That
Alright gang… it’s been busy past few days in the newsroom with regular news and editorial decisions… from the young woman who was escorted out of the Richmond Mall for wearing the dress she had bought there… to the start of school to some of our always brazen criminals making life tough for everybody who works hard and tries to do the right thing. Then we’re all proudly watching USA performance at the Olympics and keeping a watchful eye on that situation in the country of Georgia where Russian troops were brought in.
And then there’s politics.
Senator Mitch McConnell appeared for Kentucky Newsmakers…. As usual in an election year, he was “on message” and disciplined. One of the first stories I covered for WKYT was McConnell’s election in 1984… I had just started at the station and was more behind the scenes. But I remember that night well. It seemed as though McConnell was the only person not surprised by his upset victory over Walter “Dee” Huddleston.
In 1990, I covered the race extensively. I have always felt that John Brock, who narrowly lost the Democratic nomination, would have been a better candidate against McConnell. Harvey Sloane was a tough competitor and he carried the progressive messages of the day. But he was also from “out in the state” and spoke with an authentic Kentucky dialect. (I happen to think that helped Steve Beshear some in his comeback bid last year as well… If you take more liberal positions in Kentucky, it helps if you look and sound more conservative).
Brock had also been elected statewide as Superintendent of Public Instruction and was from the heavily Republican 5th district, which may have cut into McConnell’s advantage there.
In 1996… Steve Beshear was still getting over his bruising loss in the 1987 governor’s race. He hadn’t yet become the “comfortible in his own skin” ‘grandfatherly figure with an edge’ who would run successfully for governor eleven years later. Hampered by lack of financing and faced with another humorous campaign from McConnell… the governor now was “Besheared” in ‘96.
In 2002…. Lois Combs Weinberg couldn’t really get her campaign off the ground. She was a progressive, like her father, former Governor Bert Combs. But she lacked the tenacity necessary to really take on McConnell. He was able to paint her as a nice lady who was perhaps too nice for the rough and tumble of Washington.
Now in 2008… Kentucky is listed as leaning toward McConnell on most websites that do that sort of thing. Polls show him about ten points ahead… give or take a point or two. But he can’t and isn’t taking the race for granted. Bruce Lunsford is very competitive… you can feel it oozing from him in person. He’s a tough businessman who may have had his one ‘glass jaw’ moment in 2003 when he dropped out of the governor’s race after some attack ads hurt his standing in the polls. Lunsford committed himself to last year’s governor’s race, learned a few things and is now running hard against McConnell.
There were rumblings that Ernesto Scorsone might face competition for the Circuit Judge’s post he has been appointed to in Fayette County. In the end, being called Judge Scorsone for a few months and having been elected by voters in roughly half the county several times over proved to be too steep of a mountain to climb for would be competitors.
Scorsone is unopposed in November. He leaves the state legislature after several years as a clear liberal voice. Sometimes he stood all alone on issues… that may have been good practice for being judge which often requires solitary decisions. He has been a criminal defense attorney for many years, so it will be interesting to see how receptive he is to prosecutors. Scorsone also had a hand in passing or opposing many laws that he will now be enforcing. That too is an interesting perspective few judges ever have and will require a special mindset.
Barr Makes It Onto Kentucky Ballot
Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr has made his way onto Kentucky’s November ballot by turning in more than 5,000 signatures. Barr, a former conservative Republican congressman from Georgia could be a threat to John McCain on the right. With polling showing McCain with a double digit lead in Kentucky, he can lose a sliver of support to Barr and still win the state. But many in the GOP worry that those same slivers in more competitive states could mean the difference in McCain winning or losing electoral votes.
Former President Coming To Georgetown
Former President George Herbert Walker Bush will be in Georgetown in September to dedicate a facility named in his honor. Mr. Bush serves on an advisory board for Georgetown College and has agreed to come accept the honor in person. The Scott County Airport is nearby in case he wants to take in some skydiving while there… although that’s fairly unlikely. He always seemed very decent on TV and in person. We interviewed him in London, KY during his 1988 bid for the White House and covered him the night before he lost his re-election effort in Louisville in 1992.
WKYT 27 NEWSFIRST