Monday, August 06, 2018

The Turtle Is Starting Two Years Early To Win His Race In Kentucky

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In 2014 Mitch McConnell looked like he might have a tough time being reelected. In fact, he spent a colossal $30,435,557 in the effort, not counting $22,250,563 that SuperPACs spent supporting him and sliming his Democratic opponent, Alison Grimes. And before McConnell could get to Grimes he had to fight off a primary from the more extreme right-- Matt Bevin, now governor, then just a random insane rich person, spent $4,485,900 against McConnell, $1,239,648 was self-funded.

McConnell beat Bevin handily in the primary 213,753 (60.2%) to 125,787 (35.4%). There was a warning in that primary, though. Alison Grimes won the Democratic primary with 307,821 votes (76.5%), nearly as much as McConnell and Bevin combined. In fact, 402,524 Democrats turned out on primary day, and just 355,116 Republicans showed up to vote. Enthusiasm for McConnell was low. And it still is. He is the least popular and most disliked senator in the United States, a mirror image of Bernie. McConnell still managed to win the general election 806,787 (56.2%) to 584,698 (40.7%). He won 110 of Kentucky's 120 counties, although Grimes won the 2 most populous counties in the state, Jefferson (Louisville) and Fayette (Lexington).

McConnell's seat isn't up this year-- but it is in 2020, when Trump will be on the top of the ticket (and, no doubt, dominating it). McConnell (76) isn't waiting to get started, as AP reported over the weekend. He announced he's running in 2 years at Fancy Farm on Saturday. "I have some news to make this morning," he said at a GOP breakfast. "I’m going to be running for re-election in 2020. I don’t like starting late." His new campaign chair is Jonathan Shell, who many help will work the same magic for McConnell he managed to work for himself. The youngest member of the state legislature, 30 year old Shell is the majority leader of the state House but was beaten in a May primary by Travis Brenda, high school math teacher, backed by teachers angry at the state legislature for passing a controversial, anti-union pension bill.
Hundreds of teachers mustered at the Fancy Farm picnic Saturday. The 138-year-old tradition in western Kentucky is known for pitting politicians of both parties onstage before a crowd of raucous hecklers who do their best to fluster those brave enough to stand at the microphone. Raising the stakes, the speeches are broadcast live on statewide television.

As McConnell spoke Saturday, hundreds of teachers in matching red T-shirts stood and turned their backs on him as they chanted, “Vote him out!”

But McConnell was steady, seeming amused by some of the reactions. Near the end of his speech, McConnell addressed the Republican side of the crowd by turning to the Democrats and saying: “Don’t be afraid of these people. Stand up for America and help us make America great again.”

As he readies his re-election campaign, McConnell has been embracing Trump, especially as he tours his home state. U.S. Rep. James Comer, who represents Kentucky’s 1st Congressional District, said Trump has a 73 percent approval rating in his area. According to the FiveThirtyEight.com, McConnell votes with Trump in the Senate 94.7 percent of the time. Saturday, McConnell bragged he canceled the August recess so he can spend more time “promoting the Trump agenda all the way through the month of August.”

A big part of that agenda is confirming judges, a role that will likely be a big part of McConnell’s re-election strategy. He said his decision to block former President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee in the final months of his presidency “was the single most consequential decision I’ve made in my career.” He vowed the Senate would confirm Brett Kavanaugh, the judge Trump has nominated to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

He added that if Republicans can keep control of the Senate for the rest of Trump’s term “we can transform the federal judiciary.”

McConnell’s biggest critic Saturday was Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democratic secretary of state who lost to McConnell in 2014. McConnell left the Fancy Farm stage before the program ended, prompting Grimes to quip “he is very busy rushing a Supreme Court vote.”

“It is so sad. Like many men, he suffers from premature confirmation. And like a man, he claims it never happens to him,” she said.

Democrats hoped the picnic would jump-start their efforts to regain control of a state they dominated for decades. They point to picnic no-shows this year, including Republican Gov. Matt Bevin and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, as evidence of growing momentum that would scare them away from facing the raucous crowds of Fancy Farm.

Paul is not attending because he is on a trip to Russia. On Friday night, at the Democrats traditional bean supper, Grimes said that “many folks think that Rand Paul can’t be beat.”

“I don’t buy that. Just ask his neighbor. He can be beaten,” she said, a reference to when Paul was attacked by his neighbor last year, resulting in broken ribs.

Grimes’ comment was condemned by Republicans on social media, including Doug Stafford, Paul’s chief strategist.

“That’s almost as sad and pathetic as her last campaign,” Stafford wrote, referring to Grimes’ 2014 challenge to McConnell. “Mitch beat her so bad he almost got charged with a hate crime.”
In terms of the 2020 primary, Bevin could challenge him again, but even if Bevin doesn't, there's likely to be someone challenging McConnell from the far right fringe of the party. Trump is likely to decide who the Republican nominee will be, so we can all depend on watching McConnell  kissing his ass for the next two years. Democrats who have been mentioned as possible nominees include Alison Grimes, Congressman John Yarmuth, former Lt. Gov. Crit Luallen, actress Ashley Judd and Louisville mayor Greg Fischer.

Misprison by Chip Proser


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2 Comments:

At 6:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Republicans control most state governments, hold more judicial appointments, and are overtly backed by the voting machine companies. I doubt they are too worried that -if all else fails- they can still concoct a victory where none exists.

 
At 10:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

..um.. it's also fucking KY. They would probably elect hitler reincarnated just because he isn't a democrap. In fact, they almost have. iteratively.

 

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