As promised in our last piece, here are my predictions for the upcoming 2010 Kentucky(Jefferson County) elections. I don’t think there will be many surprises. I think the biggest “surprise” if you will, is reserved for the Grand Ole Party nationally. The recent Primary elections established the Tea Party as a viable answer to the traditional conservative wing of the Republican Party, lead in part, by Kentucky’s own, US Senator Mitch McConnell.
What the Primary elections proved was the conservatives across America are tired of status quo politics. They have had enough of the usual dull fare of “elect me and I’ll change (fill in the blank)”. Who are they trying to kid? One person or even as small group of like minded individuals can’t make a hoots worth of difference in Washington, or for that matter, in most state capitals. The people get it. Politicians don’t. It takes a mass movement, and that’s what the Tea Party is all about.
Sadly, one the causalities of the Primary Elections were the loss of moderates. America has long been a country of the Center; sometimes a little to the Left and sometimes a little to the Right. The elections all but removed the Center from power in this country, especially on the Right. The result is that we’re left with two extremes, Obama’s Neo-Socialists and the Conservative Right’s Theocrats. Neither is particularly appealing to the American Public. The Tea Party offers conservatives a choice, but in the long run may result in creating a political party of conformity but unelectability at the national level or, in some cases, state and local levels. The same thing happens if the theocrats continue to dominate the GOP, which may partly explain Obama’s 2008 landslide and exodus of Republican moderates. The moderate conservatives on the Left really have nowhere to turn either, except to the Tea Party or to their increasing socialist oriented Democratic Party. Perhaps this is why so many people, mostly moderates, have chosen to leave both parties and have registered as Independents.
Americans live in the political middle. We are a practical, independent, hard-working, and privately religious people. We believe in freely offering a helping hand to those in need. We believe in fairness and accountability. Both political parties need to reexamine their political goals. The party (or perhaps independent) who captures the Center will be the one who will dominate our political system. Now, for my 2010 Jefferson County election predictions.
For the open US Senate Seat of retiring Jim Bunning (R), Republican Rand Paul has lead Democrat Jack Conway throughout despite an all out offensive by the Democrats and their Allies Conway was the first to go negative and has, for the most part, stayed, if not negative, then at least distorted. The more Conway stays negative, the better Paul seems to do. Therefore, I predict no or little change in Conway’s desperation and a Rand Paul victory.
In the 3rd District, we have incumbent John Yarmuth (D) in a race against Todd Lally. There’s much to be said for Lally. He’s got the looks and background. He’s running in a good year. Yarmuth is an unabashed liberal who has openly spoke proudly of his support for Obama and his policies. However, Lally hasn’t been nearly as aggressive as he needs to be to knock John off his perch. I think Yarmuth wins.
For 38th Kentucky State Senate, we have incumbent Republican Dan Seum against Marty Meyer, Yarmuth’s former aide. Meyer has a tough road to hoe to take out Jefferson County’s “VET Slayer”. Despite his slightly outdated moniker, Dan remains popular in his district and should beat the liberal Meyer.
Republican newcomer Brian Simpson is making big waves against incumbent Larry Clark for the 46th House Seat. Larry Clark is the quintessential entrenched “good-ole-boy” Democrat right down to his arrogant and condescending attitude. I polled a large number of his constituents and found nearly no one who could stand him. The residents of the 46th District need someone who’ll listen and that sure hasn’t been Larry Clark.
The 44th Kentucky House seat had all the possibilities of an interesting race, pitting Democrat Joni Jenkins against newcomer Gail Powers. Joni comes from a longtime Shively Democratic family while Gail is a transplanted Florida Republican activist. However, due to technicality and subsequent lawsuit filed by Democrat operatives, Gail was disqualified. Nevertheless, I fully expect to see her again. The gal has spunk.
In the 38th Kentucky House race, we have Tim Firkins, a long time Democrat operative running against Republican Mike Nemes. Mike is showing he wants this seat, however, to his credit, Tim hasn’t really made anyone in his district. In fact, he really hasn’t done much to or for his district (disclaimer: I live in the 38th and previously ran for this seat against Denver Butler). I think Nemes has a real good shot at winning this seat.
In the open 37th Kentucky House race, Wade Hurt (R) facing off against Jeff Donahue (D). The 37th has had rather poor representation of late and I think the residents are looking for some serious change. They will find in it Hurt. I expect him to handily defeat Donahue.
The 28th House has John Brewer (R) challenging incumbent Charlie Miller (D). I think Miller wins reelection. In the 29th, incumbent Kevin Bratcher (R) should beat Dustin Wilcher (D). Likewise, Tom Burch (D) should hold on to his seat against Aaron Wilson, but don’t underestimate Aaron. He’s an up and coming political player with a bright future. In the 32th, incumbent Julie Raque Adams(R) faces Matthew Linker, a Libertarian and Democrat Nellie Draus Stallings, while in the 33rd, Republican incumbent Ron Crimm is opposed by Kimberly Greenwell (D).
The 35th House race has incumbent Jim Wayne (D) is a tough race against Independent Kentucky President Michael Lewis. Democrats are working hard to get Lewis kicked off the ballot by challenging the signatures on his petition (independents have to have 100 signatures to run in a bi-partisan “keep’em out” status quo Kentucky statute). While I think Wayne keeps his seat, Lewis may be on to something here. I expect to see a lot more Indies running for office.
The 41st House has incumbent Tom Riner (D) up against Nathan Haney. I think money and name recognition is on Riner’s side this time out.
For the first time in 20 years, Louisville is getting a new mayor and we’re all giddy about it. The only question is whether it will be Democrat Greg Fischer or Republican Hal Heiner (Independent Jackie Green has dropped out and will be endorsing Fischer). Hal is a successful businessman and current Metro Councilman. Fischer too has had a lot of success in the business world. Fischer has the money while Heiner seems to have the momentum. Greg offers “Abramson Lite” to Hal “Fresh Ideas”. Louisville needs Hal Heiner, but the last Republican mayor was back in 1969. Odds favor Greg Fischer, but wouldn’t it be nice to have some “fresh air” for a real change?
Metro Council 5th District has incumbent Cheri Bryant Hamilton against Independent Donnie Morris. Cheri has done well by her district and should have no trouble winning. In the 6th District, we have Republican Candice Jaworski, Democrat David James, Independent Deonte Hollowell and write-in Ken Herndon, a Democrat in a four way race. When George Unseld died and left this seat vacant, the best candidate to step forward was far and away Ken Herndon. I think he still is.
In the 9th Metro Council race, former Alderwoman and current Metro Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh is being opposed by Republican Patrick Duerr. Tina is almost a fixture in the district and seems to be willing to work with those across the aisle from time to time. Tina wins, but I urge Duerr is hang in there. Remember, to win, you have to reflect the values of your district.
Metro Council 13 is a great race to watch. It pits incumbent Vicki Welch (D) against community activist and 38th Republican LD Renay Davis. Davis and Welch squared off four years ago in a tight race (disclaimer: I live in District 13 and ran for this seat in the first Metro election). Since then, drainage and attracting new businesses remain an issue while increasing crime (especially gangs and meth labs) and Section 8 houses have become serious problems. Historically, attention has focused on Fairdale to the near exclusion of the rest of the district. Vicki has put a lot of money into her district, and I think she’s doing the best she can, but I think the problems are simply to great for a “connect-the-dots” councilwomen. Renay knows the players and how the game is played. Renay Davis wins this time around.
In the 15th Metro District, we have political newcomer Jody Harral against Marianne Butler. I’ve heard little good about Butler, but I think Jody seems needs to hone his message. Butler wins, but with a little homework, Jody could win in four years. In the 17th, incumbent Glen Stuckel (R) is facing William Cohen (D). Stuckel is by far the better choice and should easily win. Jerry Miller (R) and Justin Chelf are running for Hal Heiner’s open seat in the 19th. Against, Miller is by far the better qualified candidate. The resident would do well by electing him.
The 23rd Metro Council District has incumbent James Peden (R) being opposed by Democrat John Sommers. I’ve spoken with several residents throughout the 23rd and not a word of complaint against Peden. Some describe him as the hardest working person on Metro Council. Why try to fix something that isn’t broke? Good politicians are hard to find and I expect voters to keep Peden
Property Value Administrator is one of the most important, but often overlooked positions on the ballot. This year we have candidates Corey Koellner (R) and incumbent Tony Lindauer. Tony has done a fair job. He’s a “by-the-book” administrator, which are his strength and his weakness. In good times, stability is what the people need. However, in choppy economic waters, people need an innovator. Someone able to cut costs in administration and to homeowners. I think Keollner offers that. The big challenge Keollner faces is convincing people to change horses in uncertain times, and overcoming a large money lead by Lindauer. But, sometimes, you just gotta take a leap of faith.
Another key office is County Clerk. Bobbi Holsclaw (R) is being challenged by Democrat Jack Wood. Bobbi has done an outstanding job over these many years and I look for voters to give her another four more years. Jefferson County Sheriff has incumbent Democrat John Aubrey in a three way race against Republican Mike Roberts and Independent Don Fitzgerald. Aubrey has done a good job overall, though he’s a bit too partisan for my taste. Still, I expect him to retain his job as Sheriff.
Lastly, there are a couple of seats I’d like to mention. One is “C” District Commissioner. Republican Bob Heuglin is facing Democrat Stephan Fein. For Soil & Water Conservation District Supervisor we have Ray Adam, Pat Thurman, Jim Rovenski, David Kaelin, Paul Holliger (Sr), and John Colliver. Neither of these seats have any political powers nor do they pay. However, Bob Heuglin and Paul Holliger are friends of mine and could really use the job to keep them off the streets and out of trouble.