This article appears in the current (May 2010) issue of Bazooka Magazine. I usually wait until the next issue is out to re-post articles, but am making an exception since the primaries will be over by then. I freely admit that there are several "homages" here to the Barefoot and Progressive blog. Check it out for great coverage of Kentucky politics.
On May 18th, a tiny percentage of our state's citizens will actually remember that there's a primary election. A few of them will even vote. Since I like to think that Goat Head Gumbo readers are politically active (we also like to think that Goat Head Gumbo readers are super rich and enjoy giving me money, but so far you have been a huge disappointment), it seemed like a good idea to give you a brief rundown on the upcoming ballot. Since they don't sell booze on election day, you'll probably have some extra time on your hands anyway.
The big race this month is for the position of U.S. Senator. The winner of the November election will fill Jim "Grampa Simpson" Bunning's seat. So no matter who wins, there's an excellent chance that our state will be made fun of on The Daily Show a lot less. While there are several candidates in both the Republican and Democratic primaries, all but four end up in the "other" category on most polls, so we're going to focus on the four guys who actually seem to have some chance of winning.
In the red corner, our first candidate is Rand "Ron Paul's Son" Paul. He enjoys hanging out with overweight old guys in pseudo-miliatary uniforms who want to overthrow the government, hiring campaign staffers who think lynching jokes are HI-larious, and being named after noted libertarian sociopath Ayn Rand. Paul has been endorsed by both Jim Bunning and Sarah Palin, so he should have the wingnut vote in the bag.
Paul's most serious opponent in the Republican primary is Secretary of State Trey Grayson. With the exception of illegally removing 8,000 Kentuckians from the voter registry during his first term, Grayson's only real selling point is that he's an incredibly boring, vanilla Republican. So if you're registered as a member of the GOP, it's ultimately a question of whether you think Paul's crazy will attract more voters than it repels when November rolls around. If you're not sure that nutty will win the day, you might want to go with Grayson and his total lack of personality.
On the Democratic side of things, the two main contenders are Lieutenant Governor Daniel Mongiardo and Attorney General Jack Conway. Mongiardo's campaign ads tend to focus on what a manly man he is and how much he enjoys killing things, and this, combined with his right-leaning stances on things like abortion and mountaintop removal might play well with moderate, non-teabagging Republicans and Independents if the November race comes down to Paul vs. Mongiardo. In addition to being as far to the right as most Republicans, Dan Mongiardo's greatest hits include calling his boss (Governor Steve Beshear) the worst governor in Kentucky history, misusing state housing funds, and spending over $30,000 in taxpayer money for trips and meals, including $50 steaks and lots of the creme brulee that his child bride just can't get enough of.
The Mongiardo campaign has leveled several devastating criticisms against the other Democratic front-runner, Jack Conway. For starters, he's one of those big-city "elite" fancy boys who don't own no truck or do no huntin'. If you actually look up the word "elite" in a dictionary, you might get confused and think being one is a good thing, but if you're opening a book you're obviously some kinda Latte-drinkin' Commie. Shoring up the "elite" argument is the fact that Conway graduated from Duke, which means he practically made that jump shot for Laettner back in '92. The other big criticism of Conway is that he had the gall to use a (very) mildly offensive phrase at the Fancy Farm Picnic, which no doubt corrupted young children and gave several womenfolk the vapors. In the "for" category, Conway seems to actually embrace the basic platform of the Democratic party. He also refused to waste Kentucky taxpayer money on the stupid Health Care Reform lawsuit and did a great job of defending his decision on Fox News. Bottom line: If you're a partisan Democrat who wants a party member to win regardless of their platform, Mongiardo might stand a slightly better chance against Rand Paul (if it's Mongiardo vs. Grayson, voter turnout will probably be very low since they're practically the same guy). If, on the other hand, you want to elect a Democrat who might actually act like a Democrat, Jack Conway is probably the way to go.
I was going to include a bit about the local Paducah/McCracken County races, but since I live out in the hinterlands of Ballard County, I haven't really been paying attention. From the signs, it looks like you'll be voting for Jailer and Constable. I tried to do some online research, but every apparent hit sends me to the county and city web sites, which don't say dick about the elections. This leads me to believe that either (a)even those in local government don't give a rat's ass who gets these jobs; or (b) the current administration are trying to keep the race as quiet as possible, which gives the upper hand to the incumbents. I'd recommend voting against the incumbents. It's usually a good idea to do so, and if the current administration indeed supports the current office holders, voting in somebody new reduces the chances of the jail being replaced with a big ass tent.