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Ken Rechtin's Another Voice: What Went Wrong in NKY for Comer-McDaniel?

I stayed up late last Tuesday evening, primary election night, watching Bill Goodman and Al Cross and others on KET speak about the close race between the top two contenders vying to become the Republican nominee for Governor.

The political junkie that I am, I couldn’t go to sleep without knowing who would be victorious. At the end of the evening, the match resulted in a victory by Matt Bevin, by the slimmest of margins, just 83 votes!

This is an interesting story in itself, but the more interesting story is what happened here in NKY! Matt Bevin trounced Jamie Comer. Bevin got two votes for every vote gotten by the Comer/McDaniel ticket. For those of you who do not follow politics, this is a real drubbing! This is a whitewash. The following are some of the acceptable words to use: thrashing, trouncing, pounding, licking, and pasting.

The Comer/McDaniel ticket was counting on NKY. Early on, the current Republican office holders were courted and brought on board. It is said by the Comer folks that over 80% of the Republican office holders backed Comer/McDaniel. (Not all of the NKY Republican Elected officials were on board (Campbell County Commissioner Charlie 
Coleman was one of the few supporting Bevin). The patented GOP 72 hour final push was performed by their backers. Door to door efforts in the final hours were executed. 

You cannot say that the Comer/McDaniel volunteers failed to do their job!

So, what happened? Why did NKY fail to deliver the votes that Comer/McDaniel needed? Was it a failure of the running mate chosen by Jamie Comer? 

Definitely not! Senator Chris McDaniel (R-Taylor Mill) did all he could do and more. Senator McDaniel brought the credentials needed: an impeccable pedigree, well educated, politically disciplined, schooled in all that is GOP, youthful vigor, successful businessman, good looks and he and his family live in NKY. Senator McDaniel even moved his highly successful business, McD Concrete, to a new location on the very visible I-75 corridor. 

What more could Chris have done?

The failure was very simply the underestimation by the Comer/McDaniel ticket of the influence of both the NKY Tea Party and rank and file Republicans. Bevin’s message very early on resonated with the folks from Boone, Kenton and Campbell’s tea parties. It is the very same theme that we heard last Tuesday evening when Matt gave his victory speech. 

Last Tuesday, Matt Bevin said that he is Kentucky. (He really said: “We are Kentucky”.)

Before Comer/McDaniel, there was Matt Bevin. By the time that Comer/McDaniel heard the opening bell, Matt Bevin had already taken ownership of conservative values: the 
Second Amendment, Marriage Protection (anti-gay), Right to Life, Right to Work, Judeo-Christian foundation of ‘merica, all veterans (he and his running mate are veterans), new job creation and prosperity for all, hatred for federal regulations and all things “Obama”. 

There just wasn’t anything left for Jamie and Chris to own and they took Matt Bevin for granted. They took NKY for granted as well. Comer did not come to a GOP primary 
debate at NKU. Chris McDaniel did a very commendable job as the “stand in”, but the crowd was looking for the candidate. Following that debate, I felt that Bevin would win the primary. In the April, readers of this column felt Bevin would win as well with over 65% of both Democrats and Republican saying they would vote for Matt Bevin.

What Senator McDaniel and Secretary Comer did own was most of the Republican elected officials in NKY. So, what’s my advice to those elected officials who publicly supported Comer/McDaniel? Simply stated: “You better begin paying attention to those Tea Party members of your own party! Failing to change your ways might result in primary challenges in your next election cycle!”

My advice to NKY Democrats who are strongly supporting Attorney General Jack Conway in his bid to become Kentucky’s Governor: “Don’t be terribly disappointed if Jack doesn’t win!” Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce president Trey Grayson says it best: "There is a Republican trend. The State Senate is hugely Republican and the State House is starting to catch up. This is probably a Republican year to be elected governor.”

My advice to Jack Conway: “Don’t give up! If any of the Republican candidates can be described as an extremist, Matt Bevin is the one. Begin your campaign NOW! Matt Bevin kicked off his campaign last Tuesday evening. Study that speech and redefine Matt Bevin before he can define himself. And especially don’t give up on NKY!”  

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The views and opinions expressed here in “Another Voice” do not reflect the views or opinions of The River City News, its owners, writers, or editors. These are solely the ideas of Ken Rechtin. If you wish to make comment to Another Voice, Ken can be reached via email at [email protected] or you may leave a comment here. All rights to use of Another Voice in any fashion are retained by Ken Rechtin. Please contact him for any use of his columns.