Saturday, May 12, 2007

Fletcher Commences Campaign (Commences?)

From Pol Watchers:

With 11 days left until voters cast their ballots, Gov. Ernie Fletcher announced his campaign's first public event today. Fletcher will start a 6-day "Kentucky Wins" bus tour on Monday, according to a news release. He'll visit 31 counties in six days.

“When I became governor, we promised change. In just four years we charted a successful course that created new jobs, saved our families money and moved Kentucky in the right direction,” Fletcher said in the release. “I look forward to continuing to tell our story of results and opportunity for every citizen of the Commonwealth on the ‘Kentucky Wins!’ bus tour.”

He'll kick off the tour in Owensboro and will travel through Hartford, Leitchfield, Morgantown and Bowling Green on Monday. Fletcher has been criticized heavily by opponent Anne Northup for using state aircraft to travel the state handing out ceremonial checks and to attend private campaign events, such as fund-raisers.

Fletcher's campaign has also paid for automated telephone calls to drum up attendance at the governor's check presentations and other official events. Fletcher has attended several campaign events organized by others, such as Lincoln Day dinners and debates. After being questioned by the Herald-Leader, Fletcher agreed to repay the state more than $19,000 for his travel.

Possibly, I am naive. However, the campaign has two weeks remaining. Should not the Governor have commenced his campaign in January? (For the Governor’s information, prancing around Kentucky, disbursing random checks, is not campaigning)

Blue Grass, Red State Delusional For Northup

Emergency Meetings

Apparently there are some people at FletchCo who are wanting to jump ship. People are talking. It looks like they have a couple leakers who want to help the candidate who deserves the nomination.

Desperate Hypocritical Fletcher Edge

I was 100% dumbfounded yesterday when I discovered the Conservative Edge's crazy and desperate attempt to use liberal Courier-Journal and Jack Conway talking points from five years ago to try to smear Anne Northup's stellar ethical record.

Anne Northup & Jeff Hoover: Common Sense Conservatives

How pathetic. If you want a Governor who will later disclose that he took contributions to his legal defense fund in exchange for work contracts and government favoritism, vote for Ernie Fletcher. Otherwise, vote for Northup/Hoover or write in your own name. Ernie Fletcher is simply not an acceptable candidate for Republicans.

Unconservative Fletcher Edge Insinuates Wrongdoing in East Kentucky

Anne Northup and Hal Rogers Do The Right Thing, Fletcher Continues To Be An Unethical Embarrassing Disappointment. In their haste to head off Northup/Hoover's surge in the internal polls, Team Fletch raised a failed five year old campaign ploy initiated and carried out by the liberal C-J, Jack Conway, and the ACLU. What Team Fletch failed to realize is that Northup utilized the same upstanding conservative approach to charity work that Hal Rogers has successfully and rightfully used in East Kentucky.

Kentucky Pachyderm 2: Northup Is Lying

Anne Northup supporters are now claiming that their internal polling, as well as internal polling of other candidates, now shows her with a 4 to 5 point lead on Ernie Fletcher. The rumor was first reported on Kentucky Progress, and later picked up by other blogs.

However, no sourcing for the rumor was given and there are no polling documents available to confirm that, which is in contrast to the recent Fletcher polling showing them with a 22-point lead on Northup. The polling memo was made available to the public and it would be nearly impossible for her to have made up that big of a deficit in such a short time.

Contrary to what Northup's supporters are hoping and wishing for, the view from here is that Fletcher is gaining strength. Northup's negative and misleading ads are backfiring, and the relentless press attacks aren't helping her any either. In short, we don't believe those rumors of her dramatic surge in the polls, and that belief was confirmed for us today by a highly-placed source who has knowledge of such things. That information would seem to correspond with information provided to The Conservative Edge by Fletcher campaign manager Marty Ryall, who said they had not seen any recent polling that showed Fletcher as having less than a double-digit lead.

One of us had a conversation with someone in a position to know, who reported that current Fletcher polling shows the incumbent with a whopping 52 percent of the vote among likely Republican voters. That number is subject to vary slightly considering factors such as turnout, but at this point the Fletcher camp is quietly confident that they will win with more than 40 percent of the vote on May 22.

This source also stated that a year ago, even Fletcher was sanguine about his re-election chances. The attitude in the Capitol was, "We've got to go out there and put smiles on our faces and do our jobs and work hard and hope things get better." Now they feel very good not only about the May primary, but the November general election against whomever the Democrats nominate.

We don't have any access to the polling documents that indicate this, but we have no reason to disbelieve what one of us learned today. Perhaps the Northup supporters hope that if they can spread misinformation about her surging to the lead, they can actually shift some momentum. If they believe what they're sayiing, more power to them. We don't know what Fletcher's vote total will be. It would be great if he tops 50 percent, but we'll be thrilled if he gets 41 percent of the vote and wins the nomination outright.

Cyber Hillbilly Questions Fletcher’s Temerity

Boxing fans will be familiar with the term “Glass Jaw.” It refers to a fighter who often appears to have all it takes to win in every category save one: the ability to weather a really hard punch. Some of the most intriguing fighters in boxing have had glass jaws. Take Tommy “the Hitman” Hearns. He could move, he could jab, he could punch—oh my god, how the man could punch—but his Achilles Heel was always his chin. No matter how underrated his opponent might be, if they packed a wallop, ol’ Tommy was suspect to go crashing to the mat at the first sign of danger.

Then there was Tommy Morrison. He never quite made the big time, at least in terms of his fighting ability, but he showed promise. While not in Hearns league, Morrisson had a lot going for him. First, he represented the latest incarnation of the famed "Great White Hope"; that is, a Caucasian boxer who could win the title in the heavyweight division. Morrison had a fearsome left hook, was one of the strongest punchers in boxing in years, and was handsome and articulate. Further, he was a celebrity, having co-starred in Sly Stone’s fifth Rocky movie. Tommy’s star was in the ascendancy until he met a Marine named Mercer. Mercer stood his grounds and took Tommy's blows for several rounds before finally catching up with the Great White Hope. In a matter of seconds, after a few hard knocks, Morrison was out cold.

Politics can be similar to boxing. No matter how strong candidates might appear, there’ve been countless times those same candidates turned out to be a paper tiger. Might this be the case with Ernie Fletcher? For months, Anne Northup’s stalked the Governor trying to get in a good hard punch. She fended off crowds of hostile state workers at Lincoln Day Dinners and accusations that she was somehow disloyal to the party for running against the Governor. All the while, she continually insisted that the Governor couldn’t weather the storm of unpopularity in the general election. And for those same months we were treated to heartfelt assurances from Team Fletcher that he was in fact up to the task.

But last week an interesting thing happened; Anne caught up with the Governor. While the Governor was probably hoping that Anne had been the one portrayed in his latest cheesy ad, alas, it wasn’t to be. And now, after being on the defensive for a little over a week, the Governor’s own polls show him trailing or tied with Northup.

Granted, Anne Northup packs a wallop. Just ask Mike Ward, Jack Conway, Tony Miller, Eleanor Jordan, and various others who stood between her and electoral success. But come November, whoever emerges from the Democratic primary will be wearing brass knuckles. He’ll be buoyed by the passion and drive of a party uncomfortable with its loss of power four years ago and eager to do whatever it takes to get that power back. Further, he'll have the luxury of knowing that only once in the 30 years since Louie B. Nunn's election has a Republican won the Governor's mansion and that the majority of the voters are already registered his way even without a cloud of unpopularity hanging over the incumbent's head.

If at that time the opponent happens to be Ernie Fletcher, Republicans can expect an even fiercer assault. It’s hard to imagine that the Governor’s political jaw can sustain the abuse he’s likely to get. Take note Republicans… take note.

OSI Interprets

This is the last in the series of questions for the Governor candidates put forth by the Herald-Leader. This time, the issue is campaigning with state resources and how the candidates will stop it. (We thank the Herald-Leader and its staff, Ryan Alessi and John Stamper, for the very informative series). Here are the candidates responses -- in their own words:

Billy Harper: "Public officials need to draw a clear line in the sand when it comes to use of state resources. As governor, I will establish clearly defined guidelines for all non-merit personnel to follow from day one. It should never be simply a question of what’s legal. The state’s chief executive should always make decisions based on what is right." Billy will establish guidelines for his staff, to do what is right and not merely what is legal.

Ernie Fletcher: No response. (Update: This post has been updated with a response): "I have gone above and beyond what the law requires. I have reimbursed the state when political events coincide with official trips even though it is not required by law. ... I expect the legislature to examine this issue and will happily comply with whatever requirements they deem appropriate." Ernie says he has refunded the state for personal campaign expenses (though he initially refused to do so, after the Herald Leader took him to task on it) and expects the Legislature to examine the issue (and says also he will comply with any new laws).

Anne Northup: "It is astonishing that Ernie Fletcher, who ran on a promise to clean up Frankfort, has used your tax dollars to finance his campaign. Until he got caught, he had no problem using your money to further his own political career. The law must be clarified and strengthened to ensure that future governors cannot blur the bright line between official and campaign expenses." Anne wants to have the Legislature to strengthen the law so that tax dollars are not used to further [a future Governor's] political career."

So there they are, in their own words -- deciphered (This time I give the candidates credit for speaking more CLEARLY!)
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Kentucky Progress
On the Right!
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