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When last I wrote, I was discussing the shallowness of the candidate pool for county offices in Oldham County. Since that time, the filing deadline has come and gone, and I’m happy to report that several more folks have stepped up to contend for county office in Oldham County. There are even a couple of Democrats in the mix. You can find the complete list of all the candidates for office at the Oldham County Clerks web site: http://oldhamcountyclerkky.com/. As I said, choice is good.
Now, let’s talk about the consequences of choice.
Oldham County is a Republican stronghold. At present, every county office holder is a Republican. Except for a few races, the winner of the Republican primary will be the office holder. Our decision in these races will be which of the Republican candidates is best suited for and will do the best job in governing Oldham County. Most of them I don’t know except by reputation if they are currently serving. I will make it a point to find out more before the primary in May, so I can make an intelligent decision. I would suggest that you do the same.
The situation in statewide races is totally different.
In statewide and national elections, there seem to be two types of Republicans. There are those who like to thump their chest and stake out very conservative positions that excite the 30 percent of the population that look, think and act just like them and mock as a RINO (Republican in Name Only) any Republican with the audacity to conjure up an independent thought. And then there are Republicans who like to win elections.
We have exactly that situation in the Republican primary for United States Senate. Matt Bevin is running as a Tea Party alternative to Mitch McConnell. Recently the extreme right- leaning Republicans have decided that McConnell is not conservative enough, and are therefore rallying around Bevin, who by all reports is a nice fellow and has staked out positions that are philosophical red meat to conservatives. I’m not sure if many of his positions aren’t positions of convenience simply because it is where he has to be to garner support (and money). And by the way, I don’t, in concept, disagree with a lot of what he says – however I like to see Republicans win elections and Matt Bevin is never going to be elected to the United States Senate.
The reasons why are simple. First, I doubt he can beat McConnell.
I predict he will lose to McConnell by 20 points. Second, if by some miracle, he could beat McConnell, he has no chance of beating Allison Grimes statewide.
The vote is going to break down as follows: about 45 percent are going to vote for Grimes because she is a Democrat, and they will vote for Democrats no matter what. Another 45 percent are going to vote for the Republican nominee because they always vote Republican. That leaves 10 percent who are going to decide the election. Few of those 10 percent are going to vote for a Tea Party candidate professing hard core conservative issues – they just will not. On the other hand, these same people have been voting for McConnell for 30 years, and given the choice, I believe a little more than half of them will vote for McConnell over Grimes; an unproven candidate who is only in politics because of her family connections (not unlike plenty of other Kentucky politicians). Even this slim majority is not a sure thing. The race between McConnell and Grimes is called a toss-up at best, and a poll out today (2/6/14) shows Grimes up by four points.
So the issue is pretty simple. A vote for Matt Bevin is a vote for Allison Grimes. You can postulate as much as you want that we need more conservative Senators, and I won’t disagree; but it is more important to have a Republican Senator than it is to have a very conservative candidate who doesn’t get elected. In a contest between Allison Grimes and Matt Bevin the 45 percent - 45 percent vote will be more like 40 to 50 percent in favor of Grimes. The Grimes campaign would love to run against Bevin. Her campaign staff becomes aroused just thinking about a Bevin/Grimes race.
I want a Republican to win the 2014 Senate race in Kentucky; and the only Republican who can possibly pull it off is Mitch McConnell.
The views expressed in this column are those of the writer. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org