Monday, January 22, 2007

Coalition Anti-Fletcher

From the Conservative Edge:

The key to beating Fletcher? Putting together, or retaining a coalition of Fletcher critics

To understand the dynamics of how to put together a coalition of Fletcher critics, you have to have an understanding of the various Republican groups that oppose Governor Fletcher. Anyone looking to unseat the Governor will have to bring these groups together, and add more to their ranks. Conversely, Governor Fletcher may have to work to break up that coalition and win defectors to his banner.

The analysis starts in Louisville, the home of the largest group of Fletcher critics. Some, like Jack Richardson, Steve Pence and Ted Jackson have played a critical role in undermining the Governor. Both Jackson and Richardson have close ties to Anne Northup and Mitch McConnell. While Pence was McConnell’s hand picked second choice to run with Fletcher in 2003. (McConnell’s first choice, Hunter Bates, was disqualified from running).

Within that Louisville group, there are at least four sub groups. Those who are loyal McConnell supporters. Those who want gambling for the Derby city. Those who want more state money brought into Louisville, and those who are disappointed in the Governor for the merit hiring scandal. In some instances, certain individuals may belong to all four camps.

More than likely, the McConnell faction will remain loyal to Mitch, and hence loyal to Northup. The gambling faction may be up for grabs as none of the three current GOP candidates has publicly supported gambling. Although, it’s possible that Northup’s stance is a subterfuge. Polls clearly indicate that the majority of Republicans are against gambling, and Northup may not want to alienate them at this point.

Northup herself may fall into the third category. Our sources tell us that Northup was heavily involved in trying to get the Governor to use most of the state’s transportation dollars for Louisville’s two big bridge projects. According to the source, try as he might, Governor Fletcher couldn’t appease the Louisville contingent with anything less than full funding for the bridges. That move would have left the cupboard bare for the rest of the state.

This group represents a chance for Governor Fletcher’s to peel away supporters of Northup. Not necessarily those supporters in Louisville, but other Northup supporters thoughout the state, that may be unaware of the money grab made by Louisville with pressure from Northup. It would be hard for elected officials to explain to their constituents why they supported a candidate who attempted to siphon off state money from their communities.

Finally, there are those Republicans who are sorely disappointed in the Governor for the merit hiring scandal. They may agree that the Governor did nothing wrong criminally, but believe that he failed them by not changing the culture he promised to change. Within that group is another sub group. Those Republicans who were hurt financially by the Governor’s actions.

Governor Fletcher has a chance to regain supporters from the disappointed Republicans. But he stands little chance of regaining the support of those whom have been hurt financially.

Outside of Louisville, there are several sub categories of Fletcher detractors. Most of the groups mirror the Louisville groups. Those who are loyal to McConnell, those who want gambling, although not necessarily just for Louisville, and those who are disappointed in the Governor,( and it’s sub group).

But there are other groups. Those include many Republicans who were rubbed the wrong way by Fletcher in the 2003 campaign. In fact, Louisville may have the some of those as well. During the 2003 campaign, Fletcher’s people were dubbed “the Armani gang” by rival republican campaigns. Some of Fletcher’s people were arrogant, and treated others with disrespect. The fact the Fletcher is somewhat aloof, did not help matters.

That arrogance continued in office, and continued to damage the Governor. That alone may have been the single biggest factor contributing to the Governor finding himself isolated once the merit hiring scandal began. Many of those Republicans have returned to the Governor’s fold, but the resentment still lingers.

For Republican challengers to the Governor, this last group may represent the single best opportunity to break up his coalition. Unfortunately, attacking the Governor as a campaign theme, is probably the wrong way to go about it. Billy Harper has been the most effective at it.

So for the GOP primary, the issue is, who can put together the biggest coalition. Keep in mind that some in the GOP are not Fletcher critics. The size of that contingent has yet to be determined. For the challengers, they will have to determine if the contingent is big enough to fight over, and if so, how to make inroads into that demographic, while cobbling together a sizeable contingent of Fletcher critics. It may be tough to do both, as Northup should be learning by now. You simply cannot win over Fletcher supporters by basing your entire campaign on trashing him.

Come May, we will find out if Fletcher was able to hold his coalition together, or if Northup was able to build or retain a large enough coalition of Fletcher critics sufficient to swamp his supporters, or if Billy Harper can wait in the stands and pick up the pieces.
Understanding the dynamics of Fletcher supporters is another column for another day.

No comments:
KYConservativeBlogs Network
Another Opinion
Bluegrass Institute Blog
Blue Grass, Red State
Conservative Edge
Conservative Musings
Elendils Blog
Jefferson Review
Jim Clarks Muckraker
Kentucky Club for Growth
Kentucky Pachyderm 2
Kentucky Progress
On the Right!
Osi Speaks!
The Pure Investor
Right Foot Forward
Right in Kentucky
Steele's Kentucky
Tri-County Consulting
Vere Loqui