Monday, May 21, 2007

Bill Bryant Discusses Voter Participation

The gubernatorial campaigns are trying to get a handle on how much and who will turn out Tuesday. It isn’t easy to figure… but it can make all the difference. On the Republican side…. Governor Fletcher’s forces are hoping for better than expected turnout in Southeastern Kentucky … in the so-called old 5th Congressional district. It’s an area where several top administration officials are from. And it’s an area where former candidate and Fletcher supporter Larry Forgy still has influence. As you move slightly west, you come to Anne Northup’s running mate’s home area. Jeff Hoover is playing to home card in the Somerset, Albany, Russell Springs area.

Obviously, Northup hopes for a strong GOP turnout in her home area of Louisville. She’s represented the area in Frankfort or Washington for twenty years and expects to do well in the state’s largest city.

Neither campaign knows what to make of Northern Kentucky. The region is rich with Republicans… but turnout there is often very weak. Secretary of State Trey Grayson says many in the area haven’t seen the TV ads that have run in the race. Many in Boone, Kenton and Campbell Counties get their primary TV from Cincinnati which is out of reach financially for most of the campaigns.

Billy Harper is trying to get to as many places as possible to potray himself as the “conservative businessman” while the politicians squabble. Harper is hoping that some turned off voters will, in the end, choose him as alternative.

On the Democratic side… It’s an aggressive ground and on-air war right now. Percieved frontrunner Steve Beshear is criss-crossing the state and trying to make decisions about “going for broke” with money in the primary or holding back some resources for a potential runoff election. As if to underscore that, Beshear spent some time in his Frankfort offices doing business (translation: fundraising?) on Monday and was visiting lunch crowds and making some other stops.

Bruce Lunsford’s mixing backslapping with an aggressive air schedule. Volunteers and paid staffers have been walking neighborhoods dropping off copies of his “blueprint for change.” Running mate Greg Stumbo is in his native Eastern Kentucky, making calls and personal visits.

Steve Henry, who’s always a strong closer in elections is on the move with several stops. Henry hopes to get particular strength out of Jefferson County which is his current home and Daviess County where he grew up. His wife, Heather, is from the Maysville area and his running mate is an elected official in Fayette County.

Jody Richards hopes for a stronger than expected turnout and a strong showing in Western Kentucky. He has represented Bowling Green in Frankfort since 1976 and is appealing to others that no governor has come from the region since Julian Carroll in the 70s. His running mate, John Y. Brown III worked Eastern Kentucky over the weekend. Gatewood Galbraith is making calls and contacting supporters… as is Otis “Bullman” Hensley.

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