2010 Senate Race Unsettled

Kentucky's 2010 U.S. Senate race is unsettled. That's because the Democrats know they're headed for a barn burner primary that will pit two constitutional office holders against each other.

Kentucky's 2010 U.S. Senate race is unsettled. That's because the Democrats know they're headed for a barn burner primary that will pit two constitutional office holders against each other. It will also be urban versus rural and doctor versus lawyer in the battle.

Attorney General Jack Conway's team is getting off to a fast start and is gearing up for a summer of work and visibility for the candidate who will also become a father in the next month or so.

Lt. Governor Dan Mongiardo is also working the phones and the organizational charts hard. Mongiardo has raised about $430,000 for his race. But that and more could be quickly burned through in a state where a candidate has to buy TV in several markets.

Before it's over.. Conway and Mongiardo will HAVE to be on Louisville and Lexington television in heavy rotation. But they'll also need to buy some ads in Hazard, Huntington, Bowling Green, Paducah and Evansville before the primary. They also need to find a way to reach Northern Kentucky. Cincy TV is really pricey and cable ads cost less but take huge frequency to hit large numbers of viewers and voters.

Of course, Republicans have to figure out if they're going to have a primary. Senator Jim Bunning says he's staying in the race. But he's also apparently given his blessing to the exploratory efforts of Secretary of State Trey Grayson. Rand Paul, the Bowling Green eye doctor who is former presidential candidate Ron Paul's son is also eager to run, if Bunning doesn't. If Bunning continues his re-election bid... it's becoming clear that he will paint himself as an opponent of many of President Obama's major planks. Bunning opposed business bailouts and he has opposed some of Obama's nominees for key positions.

Republicans have become increasingly used to having primaries. It's a natural extension of their success in state politics. In 1991... Larry Forgy and Larry Hopkins battled it out for the gubernatorial nomination. Hopkins barely won the battle and lost the war big to Democrat Brereton Jones. In 2003... Congressman Ernie Fletcher emerged from a crowded GOP gubernatorial primary.... He went on to defeat Democrat Ben Chandler. But having primaries doesn't mean Republicans have become comfortible with them. They always fray some friendships and lead to tensions. Democrats have a long history of rough primary fights and many in that party seem to relish the good fight.

It's going to be an interesting few weeks as we see the senate race continue to develop.
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