Sunday, February 25, 2007

Anatomy of A Calamity

Everyone believes the vast McConnell wing conspiracy.

With that stated, Sabato’s analysis is correct. The persecution of Governor Fletcher is imagined. His intentions were pure. However, his hiring was illegal. Subsequent attacks were not partisan. They were a response to Fletcher’s incompetence.

Northup’s candidacy is ridiculous. Her lone talking point is “Fletcher cant win.” Supposedly, she is a product of Senator Mitch McConnell. Reality states she is a Congressional loser from a Republican district.

Neither should win this election. Given the nomination, neither will win.

By Larry Sabato, published on 2 paragraphs of many on the 3 2007 Governor races:

In Kentucky the only question is who is not running for Governor. The genesis of the large field is the deep trouble in which freshman GOP Governor Ernie Fletcher finds himself. Fletcher has been enormously weakened by a prolonged legal and political battle over his patronage hirings. No doubt, the pressure was great in 2003 to hire GOP office-seekers since Fletcher is the first Bluegrass State Republican Governor since Louie Nunn left office in 1971, but his handling of the matter has nearly destroyed his Governorship.

GOP stalwarts insist it is all partisan, a product of the ambitions of Democratic Attorney General Greg Stumbo (now running for lieutenant governor on a ticket in his party's primary). Whatever the truth of that, some of the revelations have been highly embarrassing to Fletcher, and his job approval and re-elect numbers are languishing in the 30s. Almost all Democrats and many key Republicans do not believe that he can be reelected in November.

Enter the Svengali of Kentucky GOP politics, U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, who is not about to sit idly and watch the Republican house he has built since 1984 crumble. The Senate Minority Leader also comes up for reelection himself in 2008, and he doesn't want a Democratic Governor recruiting a strong candidate against him. Behind the scenes, McConnell and his allies have promised support to former Congresswoman Anne Northup, who was persuaded to run despite last November's defeat for reelection.

Northup had represented the Democratic Louisville area for ten years, managing to win close victories in a hostile environment until she was finally washed away in the Democratic wave of '06. Northup has already tied Fletcher in at least one survey conducted for her campaign, never a good sign for an incumbent. If her campaign is well run and generously financed, she has a decent chance to win in the May 22nd primary--though we note that Fletcher has started to effectively use the powers of incumbency in an attempt to hold on. He still has a mountain to climb.

Multimillionaire businessman Billy Harper, who led Fletcher's fundraising efforts in 2003, has also filed to challenge the Governor in the GOP primary. His main threat appears to be in forcing a costly runoff, which will occur if no candidate secures at least 40 percent in May--unless the legislature abolishes the run-off, which is a live possibility.

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