Democrats: Obama Good Shot In Ky., Despite May Vote

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- With Barack Obama's momentous rise as the first African American to top a national party ticket, Kentucky Democrats wonder whether they can help foment an equally profound political shift that could turn the historically red state blue in November, reports the Louisville Courier-Journal in its Sunday edition.

It's a formidable challenge. Only Bill Clinton interrupted a string of GOP victories in Kentucky going back to 1980. "It's a long shot," said Phil Laemmle, former political science professor at the University of Louisville, reports the newspaper.

It's more than a long shot, insisted Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics.

Sabata told the C-J, "If (Obama) carries either Indiana or Kentucky, he's winning 40 states."

Kentucky is culturally and politically conservative -- and Obama lost significantly to New York Sen. Hillary Clinton in Kentucky's primary, where he barely campaigned, the newspaper reports.

But Democratic leaders insist Obama can compete in Kentucky with his Republican opponent, Arizona Sen. John McCain.

They argue that Democratic voters are motivated, that Obama's running mate could provide additional appeal, and that the Republican Party is disheartened over a stumbling economy, the unpopular Iraq war and record-low job ratings for President Bush, reports the C-J.

Republican leaders counter that the Democrats are dreaming if they think Kentucky and Indiana will back Obama.

And political analysts plotting Obama's paths to the White House don't include Kentucky. Kent;ucky is considered to be solidly McCain country, reports The Louisville Courier-Journal.

Copyright - The Louisville Courier-Journal

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