Monday, November 12, 2007

First District: My Take

Jack Conway

By percentage margin of victory Jack Conway carried the ticket in 19 counties and ran second in 4. After a lack-luster showing in the Primary, Conway rebounded in a big way in the General Election. Conway was the big winner in my book because he did not throw good money after bad. Conway was successful in reaching voters through a media campaign that presented him in a manner that rural voters found very appealing. In just a matter of months, Conway shed the city-slicker image and did the work to allow himself to relate to Western Kentucky.

Conway and his people had the political savvy and the resources to do more than squeak by.He was able to build a strong foundation for himself in Western Kentucky. Money, good media and the Unions provided Jack Conway with an impressive showing last Tuesday.

During Conway's speech last Tuesday night, someone beside me leaned over and commented that he could not believe how well Conway had done considering that his commercials were so awful with all that farm crap and stupid jingle. It reminded me of why and how the Democrats have been losing for the last 20 years. This guy was probably some big-shot in the Party?

No, I think Conway gets it and because of that, he was able to portray himself as a "Grady Stumbo" type of populist in the First Congressional District. Even though Conway had a lot of money to spend, he used it wisely. Hat's off to the Conway people.

From Un-Organized Labor to Organized Labor

Some have taken my comments about Labor Unions personal over the years but I did not apologize for them then nor will I now. What I will do and what I have always try to do, is give credit where it is due. The strength of Labor at the polls had steadily declined in my book since 1983. Huddleston, Barlow, Null, Roy, Alexander and on and on counted on a Labor vote and it never happened.

I can remember standing in the men's bathroom at Kentucky Dam on election night when a number of Union leaders lined up at the urinal almost in tears over the loss of Brian Roy. One man commented that he could not believe that Unions would vote against one of their own.

I have been down on Labor because Labor has not delivered in years and I've had a hard time convincing myself to advise anyone to spend much time with their issues. With that being said I have to say that I am very impressed with the results delivered by organized labor last Tuesday. After years of not being able to rally their membership, they turned out this time. In my humble opinion the Labor Union now deserve some respect to their issues and their ability to make a difference for the Democrat Party. I'm sure the likes of Tom Barlow, Dennis Null, Brian Roy and Clint Alexander are left wondering what could have been.

Organized Labor has been resurrected. Congratulations on a job well done!!

Steve Beshear

Beshear had the toughest job to do and took most of the blows for the Democrats. It's hard to argue with Beshears results considering his margins were much better than I had predicted. I will point out a few items. Beshear carried the Ticket in percentage margin of victory in only 6 counties. He ran second in 7 counties to others on the Ticket. I do think that Beshear should have spent more money in the First District and I think his numbers reflect that. Conway from all appearances seemed to spend the most the last few weeks and he was rewarded for that. Beshear left too much on the table that I feel may hurt him if he decides to seek a second term. I can't and won't discount the value of being Governor for 4 years and the opportunities that he will have to build back his West Kentucky base.

Todd Hollenbach Jr.

Todd Hollenbach Jr. carried 2 counties by percentage margin of victory. Carrying Christian and Trigg Counties, Hollenbach ran second in 7 others. Considering the Hollenbach Campaign only spent $5,000 in the First District on media, his numbers are really good. If you compare the amount of money spent on media to votes received then one would have to say that Hollenbach was also a big winner. Name recognition and the grass roots support Hollenbach had carried over from the primary which allowed him to be successful without having to raise and spend a lot of money. Hollenbach was in a better position in Western Kentucky heading into the General Election than the rest of the Ticket. Hollenbach has the opportunity for a promising future in Kentucky politics but he will have to do a better job next time of building a state-wide organization.

Crit Luallen

Crit Luallen carried the Ticket in 6 counties for the Democrats but of those six, 4 were in a losing cause. Most of Luallen's wins were in the Eastern Counties of the First District which are Republican. However, Luallen did have 15 second place finishes on the Ticket, 3 of which were also loses. Labor and media provided Luallen with solid margins across the District. I'm not sure there is much else to say here other than she ran well and allowed herself the opportunity to have a base of support should she run for the Senate.

Some Interesting Points


I don't think anyone thought the Democrats would have a chance of winning Calloway Co. David Ramey and the Murray-Calloway County Democrat Party deserve much credit for delivering a victory. Beshear had 55.7%, Conway had 62.3%, Luallen had 61.7%, and Hollenbach had 59.5%.I will discuss this more later.

High Water Mark

Jack Conway received at least 70% of the vote in 11 counties in the First.

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