Kentucky Tea Party Fav Goes Down in Defeat

Kentucky Tea Party Favorite Goes Down.

Election Day in Kentucky today. I know that the Mods encourage local diaries so here we go.

Despite living in Indiana, I work in Kentucky so I consider this primary to be a semi-local election to me because so much of what happens in Kentucky affects my life (like the tax rates in the KY county I work in).

The current Democratic governor, Steve Beshear, is up for re-election this November. I expect him to have a tough battle against the GOP Establishment nominee, David Williams, who won tonight’s primary.

The Tea Party chose to endorse Phil Moffett for Governor. http://www.philmoffett.com/

He was endorsed by Rand Paul and various Tea Party groups across the state. Despite the Tea Party support he lost by 10 percentage points to Williams.

This was however, a much better showing than anyone anticipated.

In the last poll, taken by the Louisville Courier-Journal. Moffett trailed by 26 points with 21% of the votes undecided. This means that nearly all undecided votes went for Phil Moffett.

Moffett and the eventual nominee, David Williams ran very different campaigns. David Williams, the GOP nominee for Governor, did not run against Moffett but against the incumbent Steve Beshear. David Williams is well known in Kentucky because he is the State Senate Majority Leader and often painted in the press as the arch-nemesis of Gov. Steve Beshear. Williams often attacks Beshear in the press and many feel he will run a very negative campaign this year.

Moffett on the other hand, ran against Barack Obama. Many political pundits, such as Dick Morris, advise Congressional candidates to run against Obama because he is an unpopular President. This strategy obviously worked in Kentucky, with Rand Paul winning big on Election night in 2010. Regarding elections of the local variety, such as an election Governor, I believe this strategy may not be as effective. However, the jury is still out.

So the Tea Party loses tonight, but it was much closer than expected.I also do not believe it was entirely because of a Tea Party that is less powerful than it was a year ago.

I attribute Williams Victory to the following reasons.

  • Despite raising taxes on alcohol and cigarettes, He is able to cast himself as serious conservative. He is Pro-Life, his running mate has fought the EPA on many occasions, and cutting taxes. In conservative Kentucky, this helped many Kentuckians to not look elsewhere to the Tea Party.
  • Monetary Support. He around 1.2 million dollars for his campaign. Moffett did not even come close to raising a million dollars.
  • He picked a very popular former University of Kentucky basketball player, Richie Farmer, as his Lt. Governor. Kentucky is a very basketball crazy state. (College basketball is much bigger than college football in Kentucky). Many undecided Kentuckians may have went for Williams because they fondly look at Richie Farmer from his playing days at Kentucky.