Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Effort to Ditch Mitch Stumbles Out of the Block

Two pieces of bad news this week for those hoping to unseat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, next year.

According to the Federal Election Commission, McConnell now has more campaign cash on hand than the entire National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Mitch has $5.7 million - enough to win two or three normal statewide races in Kentucky. The NRSC has about $5.5 million on hand.

As an old Deaniac, I am painfully aware that money isn't everything. I firmly believe that both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are going to learn the same hard lesson Howard did: money gets you only so far in Iowa.

Let's hope Mitch discovers the same law of diminishing returns applies in Kentucky.

In even-worse news, the first Kentucky Democrat to go public with intentions to run against McConnell next year is State Attorney General Greg Stumbo.

Stumbo is not exactly an icon of personal integrity. He was arrested for DUI in 1991 and is infamous for fighting and losing a paternity suit filed by a woman with whom he had an affair while married to his first wife. The child was born in 1988 and he pleaded the DUI down to a lesser charge, but both stories still get traction.

Stumbo appeared to redeem himself and become a Democratic hero in 2005 when he investigated, and in 2006 indicted, Republican Govenor Ernie Fletcher for violating state law by firing civil-service-protected Democrats to make room for his republican cronies.

Then Stumbo allowed Fletcher to plead to a misdemeanor, pissing off most of the Democrats who weren't already pissed off about the DUI and the kid.

But the capping stupidity was when he accepted the Lite Guv position on the ticket of Fake Democrat and Criminal Bruce Lunsford.

All his many flaws aside, Stumbo had always been considered one of the sharpest political minds in the state. But latching onto Lunsford, widely reviled as a traitor for endorsing Fletcher in 2003, had Eastern State Mental Hospital dispatching guys in white coats to corral Stumbo.

Proof that Stumbo did not, in fact, know something everybody else didn't came in Lunsford-Stumbo's 20-point loss to Beshear-Mongiardo in the May Democratic primary.

Losing a statewide race doesn't disqualify Stumbo from challenging McConnell. After all, right now there are only two living Democrats in Kentucky who have won but never lost a statewide race: retired Senator Wendell Ford and State Auditor Crit Luallen, neither of whom has any interest in the race. And the other two most likely Mitch challengers - Charlie Owen and Andrew Horne - are also former losers.

No, losing doesn't disqualify Stumbo. Stupidity does.

For the latest on McConnell, keep tabs on DitchMitch.

UPDATE: The Herald-Leader's Pol Watchers blog, with the link to the McConnell money story, appears to be down temporarily. Here's the NYT's piece on national party fundraising.