Tags: kentucky | governor | race | republican | primary | democrats

Despite Ugly GOP Primary, Ky. Dems Face Battle in Gov. Race

By    |   Thursday, 21 May 2015 08:14 PM

While the ugly Republican primary in Kentucky may help the Democrat efforts to keep the governor's mansion, it may not be enough.

The Kentucky GOP primary is too close to call after Tuesday's vote, with businessman Matt Bevin holding a mere 83-vote lead over state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer.

According to Politico, the political mudslinging going on between the two Republican candidates may help Democrats by covering up their desperation as they work to help their nominee, Attorney General Jack Conway, become the state's next governor.

Democrats have held the governor's mansion for several decades, but sitting Gov. Steve Beshear is being forced out due to term limits.

The Democratic Party is hoping to hold the executive office in one of the last southern states that still has a Democratic governor and a House chamber also controlled by their party.

Republicans currently occupy 32 governors' offices around the country, compared to the mere 18 Democratic governors. Democrats are desperate to hold onto Kentucky, along with other states that are trending Republican such as Missouri and Montana.

"I think it’s enormously important. I think it will be somewhat of a bellwether for next year’s broader elections,” Kentucky Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth told Politico.

"I’m worried about Kentucky because if we were to lose the governor’s mansion, we’d have a much more difficult time keeping the state House," Yarmuth added. "We would go back 100 years."

The Republicans plan to defeat Conway by tying him to President Barack Obama as much as possible, which helped to defeat Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes when she ran against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

"I think that our brand as Democrats is hurt by Obama here,” former State Treasurer and Democrat Jonathan Miller told Politico.

However, Miller said that he thinks "it’s going to be a lot easier for Jack to escape that."

Yarmuth also questions the strategy since Obama will be on his way out come 2016.

"Barack is going to be that much more of a lame duck and the presidential campaign will be that much more visible. If Bevin tries to play that card, he’s going to look pretty stupid," he added.

Bevin, who challenged McConnell in the Kentucky Republican primary in 2014, also has an uphill battle if he ends up as the nominee, Politico notes.

He reportedly made a lot of enemies in the Kentucky GOP when he tried to take on his state's senior senator, and he will need to unite the party to garner the needed support to win.

McConnell's former chief of staff and campaign adviser Josh Holmes told The Louisville Courier-Journal that Bevin is an opportunist and would be willing to run as a Democrat in another state, if he thought it would help him get elected. 

"Matt has got a lot of fence-mending to do," Bill Stone, former chairman of the Jefferson County Republican Party, told Politico. “He can’t win this thing by himself."

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While the ugly Republican primary in Kentucky may help the Democrat efforts to keep the governor's mansion, it may not be enough.
kentucky, governor, race, republican, primary, democrats
Thursday, 21 May 2015 08:14 PM
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