So Reggie Thomas won the 13th District Special Election. Republican Big Mike Johnson got 851 votes, Independent Richard Moloney got 2,617 and Thomas, the Democrat, received 4,040 votes.
Moloney lost by 1,423 votes in a Special Election in which 7,500 people voted — an 11% turnout. Thomas had the advantage of the Democratic Party establishment — donors and volunteers. Moloney’s big advantage was his Herald Leader endorsement and — in theory — the disgruntled middle ground between the two parties and those on the Left tired of and annoyed with the KDP.
Obviously there were many factors contributing to the Thomas victory. One of those factors was the contributors to Mr. Moloney’s campaign. As we explored on Friday and on Monday, the Moloney campaign took some big checks from some big-time GOP donors — the most notable of whom is Terry Forcht, the banker for the Karl Rove far right Super PAC, American Crossroads. Forcht, Rove and American Crossroads pumped nearly $200 million into the 2012 Presidential election in an ultimately futile (and mildly amusing) attempt to
swing buy the election for Mr. Romney.
The presence of Mr. Rove’s bagman in the Moloney campaign’s donor rolls did nothing to endear Moloney to the voters of the 13th and obviously he needed every single vote. The Thomas campaign picked up on this and released a campaign ad slamming Moloney for taking the Karl Rove-aligned money.
While we thought the ad itself was lazy, misleading and ridiculous, the stank of Karl Rove is hard to wash off once you’ve been rolled around in it. The video had over 5,500 views by the time the polls closed yesterday and Moloney got crushed. Here it is if you missed it:
It is obvious that while the Moloney campaign sorely needed the thousands of dollars Terry Forcht and Co. provided, the fact that they provided that money to Moloney was ultimately more costly than it was worth. In a sense, Terry Forcht spent money not buying votes but losing them.
And that of course is part of the equation in financing a campaign –
- Who are you willing to take money from?
- What do they want for it?
- What will the voters think of it?
In the end, the candidate must make a wager — Maybe the money can help them get lucky.
This brings us to Lexington Mayor Jim Gray.
On Thursday evening, Mayor Gray will gather with his supporters for a 3rd Anniversary Party, celebrating the Mayor’s third year in office and the undoubtedly better environment Lexington finds itself in than where we were at back in the days of that other Jim. The party’s at Buster’s, it starts at 5:30PM, runs ’til 8PM and, well, here:
Re-connect with old friends from the campaign, talk with Mayor Gray about how we can keep Lexington moving in the right direction, and learn how you can get involved in the campaign in 2014!
Mayor Gray is running for re-election. Obviously B&P championed his first run for office and while there are several areas where we feel he could do better (another time) and several areas where we feel like he’s done great (another time), we would be remiss if we didn’t follow up on the Terry Forcht thread in all this.
As we mentioned last Friday, Richard Moloney’s not the only Democrat getting dunked in the Terry Forcht golden shower — the Thomas ad hilariously shows Steve Beshear seconds after impugning Moloney with Rove despite the fact Behshear himself has taken funds from Karl Rove’s banker.
Jim Gray is the Mayor of Lexington and the mayoral race is nonpartisan. For the purposes of his campaign, he’s not a member of either party. The reality is, of course, that Jim Gray is a Democrat.
Gray does not yet have an official opponent in the Mayor race of 2014 though some folks have hinted at running… in sort of the same way Applebee’s proclaims itself “the neighborhood grill” despite the fact it’s a generic chain restaurant serving up frozen dinners, these potential candidates suggest that people are asking them to run. Maybe they are and maybe they will.
In preparation for that, Gray is raising funds for his re-election.
In the post last Friday, we mentioned Jim Gray had taken $3,000 from the Forcht money roll. That wasn’t quite right.
In the 3rd Quarter — ending September 30th — Gray raised $85,970. Almost three quarters of that money — $64,000 — came from 64 people who each gave the $1,000 max.
And 12.7% of the total haul was collected in just one day.
On September 27th, 2013, three days before the close of the quarter, Gray got eleven checks, $1,000 apiece. One from the Stoll Keenon Ogden PAC, one each from the Lynn Imaging people, and one from Orrin Ingram — a “diversified products and services” magnate, Ingram, who lives in Tennessee, gave $50K to a Romney SuperPAC, hosted a fundraiser for Romney at his house and was a member of Romney’s Tennessee finance team.
And then there was a $1,000 check from Forcht Group CFO Roger Aslip, a $1,000 check from Forcht Group President Debbie Reynolds, and a $1,000 check from Forcht Group General Counsel Rodney Shockley.
That’s $7,000 from the Forcht machine on one day.
We suggested to Richard Moloney that he give the Forcht money back or risk the ire of the 13th District voters. Moloney didn’t listen — though it’s very possible he would have lost in any event, it certainly would’ve been much closer. And we’re not playing favorites here:
Mayor Gray should return Terry Forcht’s money.
Obviously Gray’s running for a citywide office and not just in a fiercely Democratic enclave so the potential damage of the Rove/American Crossroads association is lessened. It’s lessened still further by the current lack of opponent and the likelihood that an opponent would come from the right and not the left (and like a microwaved half-priced appetizer, probably wouldn’t be worth it unless you were stuck in an airport and there was no Chili’s Too… and even then).
Still, Mayor Gray should return Terry Forcht’s money.
In case you’ve missed it, Terry Forcht runs a bank. That bank is the nexus point for the Karl Rove right wing Super PAC American Crossroads/Crossroads GPS. Aside from his work with Rove’s American Crossroads, Forcht is a big time funder of other GOP causes. This past spring, he hosted a fundraiser for the GOP/Mitch McConnell:
Now, the fact that Forcht hosted a fundraiser for Republicans and is a die-hard Republican donor doesn’t mean Mayor Gray shouldn’t take his money.
The fact that Forcht’s bank handles tens of millions to hundreds of millions of dollars for the Rove SuperPAC is a better reason for the Mayor to not take Forcht’s money.
Yet still — that is not why Jim Gray should give Terry Forcht his money back.
Terry Forcht gives money because Terry Forcht has an agenda. He has a political agenda. And that political agenda is not inline with the people, politics or needs of Lexington. Terry Forcht isn’t involved in paying for politicians to run for office because it’s fun. He didn’t give Moloney a $1,000 check because he wanted Moloney’s opponent to smear him over it. Terry Forcht wants something more.
And yet, still, that is not why Jim Gray should give Terry Forcht his money back.
Jim Gray doesn’t need Terry Forcht’s money. That’s the thing here.
Gray has no opponent. Gray has plenty of money. If you subtract even just that $1,000 check from just Terry Forcht, Gray is already well on his way to having plenty of money to win the election — and, again, he doesn’t have an opponent, and so far at least, he doesn’t even have much vocal opposition. At this point in both the Newberry and Isaac administrations, the wheels had come off and the sitting Mayor’s were just that, sitting in the driver’s seat telling people to get on board. Gray has no such problem.
So what does Terry Forcht want? And why would Jim Gray take his money?
And why won’t Jim Gray give that money back?
He could give it to a nonpartisan charity that benefits the state… like, say: Kentuckians for the Commonwealth is running a great fundraiser at the moment.
Or… well, just to prove that Terry’s not some demonic bad guy — and he’s not, he’s just decidedly not what Lexington needs — Mayor Gray could give the money to the Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter, donations can be made at Forcht Bank branches in Corbin.
Or he could just give it directly to Terry, a gift to help the bank pay off the $500,000 a jury just awarded a Louisville couple.
In the end, it comes down to this: Money can buy a lot of things (like politicians for example) but money can’t buy you love, it won’t buy you happiness, and sometimes all it really gets you is just more problems.
If you go to Buster’s, wish Mayor Gray good luck over his next four years, and then tell him what he should do with Terry Forcht’s money.
Tell him Karl Rove sent you.