OK, here’s my rundown from last night’s 2011 Kentucky primary results, looking at the big winners and the big losers:
Winner: Alison Lundergan Grimes
Not only did she easily beat an incumbent Democrat in a statewide primary (when’s the last time that happened?), but she managed to do so despite the opposition of Governor Beshear (and Grimes people claim the KDP, too). And while the Beshear/KDP event in Frankfort featured a C-list crowd, the Grimes event in Lexington featured everyone from Chandler and Stumbo to Jorts, crowning her as the New Great Hope of the Kentucky Democratic Party (I’m sure her Dad took a little pleasure in that). And she now faces Some Dude Named Bill Johnson in November (the man whose campaign bumper stickers once said “Obama Been Lyin”), which should be relatively easy. She claimed in her victory speech that she wanted to follow in the footsteps of Martha Layne Collins and be Governor of Kentucky some day, and that doesn’t sound the least bit implausible at this point.
Loser: Steve Beshear
When a Democratic Governor sticks his neck out to endorse and work for a candidate in a Democratic primary, he better be sure that the candidate wins, or else he’s going to look weak. Hello 10+% defeat! All Steve Beshear managed to do is alienate a lot of Democrats and look like yesterday’s news. The only bright spot for him is that his opponent in November is the only person that had a worse night.
Winner: Kentucky Tea Party
They’re not dead yet. David Williams was supposed to trounce Phil Moffett, the candidate with no money and no TV ads. Instead, he wound up limping to a 10 point victory, not even breaking 50%, while Moffett dominated the Golden Triangle. Bill Johnson had no money and no TV ads, whereas his establishment opponent Hilda Legg was all over television and supposed to win easily. Johnson won by 1,000 votes. John Kemper had no money, no ads, and was running for the state’s bookkeeping position while himself being in bankruptcy. And yes, he crushed his GOP establishment opponent by 14 points. The only thing stopping the Kentucky tea partiers from their second full sweep of the GOP establishment in one year was the horrible mismanagement of money in the Moffett campaign. If they had been able to get even a fraction of the airtime as Williams, Kentucky’s shocking upset might be the #1 political story in America today, and breathe some life into the intellectually and morally bankrupt political movement.
Loser: David Williams
Now that’s what you call limping into the general election. The man that was supposed to dominate last night wound up losing Lexington by 20 points and finishing 3rd place in Louisville. Between those two cities and all the way up to Boone and Kenton counties, Williams got his ass handed to him by Phil Moffett and his People of Tea. Not only does Williams look weak by not even coming close to getting the vote of half of Republicans last night, but he now faces bitter Teabaggers who are going to give a long hard look at The Last Free Man in America, Gatewood Galbraith. Getcha popcorn.
Despite reports all day of tumbleweeds sweeping across polling stations all over the Bluegrass, those who bet on double-figure turnout had a sweet payday last night (10.34%).
Losers: Kentucky democracy
Loser: BD Wilson
Wilson had three times the money of anyone in the Democratic primary for Commissioner of Agriculture, yet finished an embarrassing third place to a Bible-beater named “Farmer” and an old man’s cow. I guess that’s what happens when a candidate doesn’t listen to smart people on his staff. But enough about Elaine Walker…
Winner: James Comer
Bob Farmer? You can go ahead and tell Richie Farmer to hand over the keys to Mr. Comer, because there’s no way on earth that he is going to lose in November. He would have been a favorite even if Wilson or Lackey won, but now he’s a mortal lock.
Loser: Katie the Cow
John Lackey’s cow became Kentucky’s newest A-list celebrity, as she was the star of his ad that ran approximately 2.5 million times on MSNBC. But now that Lackey came up short, we’re sad to inform you that she will no longer be spotted in the trendiest Lex/Lville clubs, as she’s now “what’s for dinner”.
Winner: Frank Simon
Kentucky’s most prominent bigot only made 3 endorsements during the primary, but he was 100%, including longshot candidates Bill Johnson and Democrat Bob Farmer. Yes, Kentucky Democrats, you just nominated someone who sought and accepted the endorsement of Frank Simon and Kentucky Right to Life (i.e., no abortion even in cases of rape and incest). Pat yourself on the back. Simon also had two of his old buddies, Todd Hollenbach and David Williams advance to the general, so I’m sure that he’s a happy old disgusting bigot today.
Even: Adam Edelen
Edelen now faces John Kemper in November. Which, if you’ve followed Kemper since his Congressional run last year, is friggin hilarious. Edelen will sleepwalk into Crit Luallen’s office. The only downside to last night for him is that he now has some competition in the Young New Greatest Hope position for Kentucky Democrats in Grimes. You can almost hear the two fiefdoms taking sides and making their long-term battle plans for 2015, can’t you?