A young energy?

Ky. House leaders hope Grimes’ win will bring new voters in November

By Kevin Wheatley, Published:

LEXINGTON — While the U.S. Senate race between Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell and Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes will grab its share of headlines across the nation, Kentucky pundits will be watching state House races as the GOP jockeys for control of the chamber for the first time in nearly a century.

This fall will offer the first look at exactly how far the first-term incumbent’s coattails stretch down the ballot.

With Grimes headlining the ticket, House Democrats like their chances of not only maintaining control of the chamber come Nov. 4, but adding to their 54-46 majority, as well. 

House Speaker Greg Stumbo predicted a seven-seat swing — four held by Republican incumbents and three open districts — for his party during Grimes’ victory celebration at the Carrick House in downtown Lexington Tuesday.

“Notice all the new faces in there,” Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said of Grimes’ supporters at the event. “Look at the young people she’s brought. Look at particularly young, professional women and young, professional men who she relates to. I mean, democracy is predicated upon change, and people understand it’s time for a change — I believe that with all my heart.”

Part of Stumbo’s optimism, he said, comes from his party’s ability to recruit strong women to run for House seats in GOP districts.

He said Democrats “out-recruited the Republicans this time by a far margin,” listing female candidates such as Ashley Miller in Louisville’s 32nd House District, Jacqueline Coleman of Nicholasville in the 55th, Audrey Haydon of Bardstown in the 50th and Gretchen Hunt in Louisville’s 48th.

“Now granted, those are tough districts,” Stumbo said. “They’re Republican-leaning districts, but it’s in this cycle. Who’s going to show up? That’s the question, and if Alison brings the type of young, new voters that I think she’s going to — not just young women, young and new — I believe that they’ll stay with the Democratic platform, the Democratic program, and I think our candidates will succeed.”

Jonathan Hurst, Grimes’ campaign manager who formerly served as the House Democratic caucus director, said Grimes would generate significant support for Democratic candidates throughout Kentucky.

“All 120 counties will be a part of this campaign,” Hurst said. “We will work to communicate with voters in every area of the state, and I think that will be a very big boost for our party when we have a candidate that will make areas competitive in Kentucky that haven’t been competitive in past elections.”

But Republican Party of Kentucky Chairman Steve Robertson dismissed Grimes’ ability to improve prospects for down-ticket Democrats. “I guess they have to have something to cling to, and this sounds like their latest thing,” he said in a phone interview.

McConnell and the GOP will make a “very specific and articulate case” not only for the incumbent’s re-election to the U.S. Senate, but also why the state needs more Republicans in the General Assembly, Robertson said. Some national issues, such as the Affordable Care Act, may be woven into Republican attacks against Democratic lawmakers this election cycle, depending on the district, he added.

“If we’re talking about the Kentucky state House, the list goes on and on and on about the bad service that the customers are getting — the customers being the people of Kentucky — from House Democrats,” Robertson said, reiterating his optimism that the GOP would assume control of the chamber for the first time since the 1920s.

Democrats interviewed at Grimes’ celebration event said McConnell and his allies would find difficulty pinning the first-term secretary of state to President Barack Obama as referenced by McConnell in his victory speech Tuesday.

“There’s no question in my mind that they’re going to try to define her in the manner that they would like to define her, but I don’t think that’s going to be successful,” said House Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook. “I think Alison has the work ethic to be able to travel this state, to be in all parts of this state, to define herself. I think she’s going to have the financial ability through strong contributions, not only in Kentucky but outside of Kentucky who have an interest in this race to be able to get her message out.”

House Majority Caucus Chairwoman Sannie Overly, a Paris Democrat who is running on a gubernatorial slate led by Attorney General Jack Conway, put it bluntly: “I think anybody who knows Alison Lundergan Grimes will tell you that she is a true Kentucky original woman, and no one will tell her how to represent the state of Kentucky in Washington, D.C.”

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  • need4speed, May 25, 2014 10:17AM

    "I have deconstructed your view of my "priveledged" upbringing on several occasions, but you refuse to believe.  Once again, for the record, joining the military in 1974 was not a path chosen by the priveledged white kids of the era. I have the DD214 to prove my point."

     

    Sorry dewd, but correcting details of your biographical résumé of your career and training that I got from your posts in the first place is NOT deconstructing my arguments.  Now see, if ou'd just gone to college instead of the Army you might have learned that...but they don't teach you have to distinguish nuance in boot camp.  I'd say that you probably feel more secure about the size of your testicles for being the big tough Army guy stationed in Germany (;-) who has a "need 4 speed" provided by some hot rod to get him going, but how is that helping you to express yourself on a debate forum?

    I do not recall ever saying that you had a "priveledged background" other than being born white and thus enjoying all olf the advantages 

    Like most white kids around here where black people are such a decided minority, you were probably taught to see overt racism only in individual and institutionalized acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance of your group. I have often noticed white men's unwillingness to grant that they are overprivileged, even though they may grant that women are disadvantaged. I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege.  I have described the difference in what you call a priveledged background, which infers that you were born rich like the Koch brothers or Mitt Romney, and white priveledge.  I have no doubt that you were not raised like those guys and have tried to explain the difference, but your lack of the nuance gene (common in Republicans) will not let you see the difference.

    Now about that deconstructing... 

     

     

     

  • I don't give two hoots in HeII about Jerry...He ain't running. I would hope that the candidates would debate each other at least once during the campaign. 

    I have deconstructed your view of my "priveledged" upbringing on several occasions, but you refuse to believe.  Once again, for the record, joining the military in 1974 was not a path chosen by the priveledged white kids of the era. I have the DD214 to prove my point.

  • need4speed, May 23, 2014 12:13PM

    "Your points have been deconstructed in the past. You are just too hard headed to admit it. How do you get through the door with that big head of yours?"

    By whom, certainly not by you, mr. one-liner quip. Whatsamatter, are you getting so old that your fingers get so tired when you type that you can't get past the insults to anything substative?  Name one thing that I have written that you have deconstructed...just one.  Better yet, deconstuct the one below...I am sure that you do not agree with what I said...here, I will past it back in so that our old tired fingers won't have to work too hard scrolling down:

     

    "I guess the young people don't remember Jerry."

    By Jerry you are referring to Jerry Lundergan, the former state Democratic Party chief and Alison's father.

    A self-made millionaire, Lundergan’s catering business has handled everything from presidential inaugurations—Clinton’s, George W. Bush’s and Obama’s—to papal visits, such as Pope John Paul II’s 1987 trip to Texas. He’s also a renowned philanthropist, sponsoring the Salvation Army’s Thanksgiving Day dinner and deploying fleets of food trucks and RVs to disaster sights across the U.S.  “Jerry was always a rags to riches sort of guy,” says Terry McBrayer, a former Kentucky Democratic Party chair who’s been friends with Lundergan for 40 years. “They came from absolutely nothing and clawed their way to business success.“ He has lived the American dream, and yet you lay nefarious land minds around his 34 year old daughter...why do you do that anyway?  Wake up in a poopy mood?

    In 1988 questions about a conflict of interest on a lucrative state contract awarded to his catering company forced him to leave that post. He was convicted of an ethics violation in 1990 but avoided a prison sentence for similar felony charges after the trial was ruled a mistrial because of jury tampering. The felony charge was a politically motivated overreach by the state's Republican party who wanted so bad to hang the KY Democratic Party Chair's scalp on their belt.  The Couurt of Appeals agreed in 1991, when it overturned the original conviction.  

    Now there are folks like you who wouldn't vote for a Democrat if your child's life depended on it, who can try to take that incident and through the magic of obscure innuendo turn it into something nefarious about Alison in some twisted guilt by association with her father's past indiscretions that he later was exonerated from by the courts.  But there is no "THERE" there, which is why you tried to sow the seeds of doubt with your one-liner quip...at that time Alison was 10 years old.  Go poop in your own yard."

    Have at it...

  • Mitch is trying to run against Obama...can someone please tell him about the president's term limits. Geez..bye bye Mitch!

  • Your points have been deconstructed in the past. You are just too hard headed to admit it. How do you get through the door with that big head of yours?

  • steve_fry, May 22, 2014 11:34AM

    "Land minds"? WTF? And don't blame "the newspaper's crappy software" because all your words were spelled correctly, you just USED THEM WRONG!

    (Gosh, that felt good.)

    Land mines...sheesh.  I gotta start proofing this stuff.  Why can't you bring the same enthusiasm to the table over something other than typos and grammatical errors?  Just think how good it would feel to logically deconstruct one of my points. 

  • uk fan  I think you said it all!!!  :)

     

  • Alison I am so proud of you!!!  I can't wait till you get elected to replace Mitch (turtlehead) McConnel.  Kentucky must elect a WOMAN that is smart, educated and well spoken. So Kentucky get on board with her!!

  • Alison I am so proud of you!!!  I can't wait till you get elected to replace Mitch (turtlehead) McConnel.  Kentucky must elect a WOMAN that is smart, educated and well spoken. So Kentucky get on board with her!!

  • "Land minds"? WTF? And don't blame "the newspaper's crappy software" because all your words were spelled correctly, you just USED THEM WRONG!

    (Gosh, that felt good.)

     

  • Jerry ain't running......go Alison!

  • user_38485, May 21, 2014 4:22PM

    "I guess the young people don't remember Jerry."

    By Jerry you are referring to Jerry Lundergan, the former state Democratic Party chief and Alison's father.

    A self-made millionaire, Lundergan’s catering business has handled everything from presidential inaugurations—Clinton’s, George W. Bush’s and Obama’s—to papal visits, such as Pope John Paul II’s 1987 trip to Texas. He’s also a renowned philanthropist, sponsoring the Salvation Army’s Thanksgiving Day dinner and deploying fleets of food trucks and RVs to disaster sights across the U.S.  “Jerry was always a rags to riches sort of guy,” says Terry McBrayer, a former Kentucky Democratic Party chair who’s been friends with Lundergan for 40 years. “They came from absolutely nothing and clawed their way to business success.“ He has lived the American dream, and yet you lay nefarious land minds around his 34 year old daughter...why do you do that anyway?  Wake up in a poopy mood?

    In 1988 questions about a conflict of interest on a lucrative state contract awarded to his catering company forced him to leave that post. He was convicted of an ethics violation in 1990 but avoided a prison sentence for similar felony charges after the trial was ruled a mistrial because of jury tampering. The felony charge was a politically motivated overreach by the state's Republican party who wanted so bad to hang the KY Democratic Party Chair's scalp on their belt.  The Couurt of Appeals agreed in 1991, when it overturned the original conviction.  

    Now there are folks like you who wouldn't vote for a Democrat if your child's life depended on it, who can try to take that incident and through the magic of obscure innuendo turn it into something nefarious about Alison in some twisted guilt by association with her father's past indiscretions that he later was exonerated from by the courts.  But there is no "THERE" there, which is why you tried to sow the seeds of doubt with your one-liner quip...at that time Alison was 10 years old.  Go poop in your own yard.

  • I guess the young people don't remember Jerry.

  • That's some compelling journalism right there!  Serious question - does Wheatley work for the State Journal or the state democratic party?  Or would we call that a distinction without a difference?  Maybe I don't understand the term correctly, but is Grimes really a "first-term incumbent" when the office she seeks is different than the office she currently holds?