Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Kentucky's Turn in the Spotlight

Kentucky's not West Virginia, but it might be Indiana.

Meaning that Senator Clinton's not getting any 40-point win here, but Senator Obama's highly unlikely to win, either.

The Herald-Leader's Kentucky poll has Clinton up 58 to 31, but fails to mention that 27-point lead is down from a 36-point lead a month ago. The poll also has McCain easily winning Kentucky in November, which is probably but not guaranteed. None of McCain's poll numbers mean anything until the Democrats start campaigning against him in earnest.

Statewide Obama canvassing started last night from 48 locations across the Commonwealth, including my own not-very-significant county. Obama has also launched two television and two radio adds to air statewide before the 20th.

The ads, which include two TV spots – “President” and “Service” – as a well as two new radio ads – one featuring Congressman Ben Chandler and the second featuring Kentucky Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo – highlight Sen. Obama’s uniquely American story, his upbringing by a single mother and his grandparents from Kansas, and his commitment to family, our nation, and his Christian faith.

Yes, the primary is over and we have our nominee, but the long primary season has allowed Obama to campaign in every state in the union - a huge advantage for the general election in November. And even though we know our votes don't really matter this time, we've got actual presidential candidates campaigning here as if they did. And that's huge.

Stephen George in LEO provides a nice contrast of Clinton's corpse of a campaign versus the youthful energy of Obama's Kentucky effort. (h/t Page One.)

Meanwhile, Ben Chandler's Sixth District constituents are severely pissed off that Obama made a public appearance in Louisville but not in Lexington. That Obama could not be bothered to play a little Horse with the UK Wildcats in the Basketball Capital of the Universe really stings.

We understand that Oregon is a better bet for Obama's limited time, but if Bill can stump for his wife in Kentucky this week, why can't we have Michelle?
Obama and Clinton have each given one speech in Kentucky this month and both were focused largely on unifying the party and replacing the Republicans in the White House.

"There may be some bruised feelings and people may be frustrated ... but Democrats are going to be unified," Obama said in Louisville Monday night, which could be his only stop in Kentucky after he cancelled a Tuesday stop in Lexington to return to Washington for Senate votes.

Obama argued that the protracted race has had some benefits to the party. "First of all, this long contest has meant that every person across this country has had a chance to vote," he said.

It's raining in Kentucky right now, and supposed to keep raining right through Monday. But the long-range forecast shows partly sunny skies for the primary on Tuesday. Should mean a big turnout.

Page One's taking bets on the Obama-Clinton race in Kentucky, so I'll give it a whirl:

Clinton 53, Obama 43, Edwards/Uncommitted 4. Obama takes the 3rd (Louisville) and 6th (Lexington) Districts, Clinton the 1st (West), 2nd, 4th (North) and 5th, with her biggest margin in the 2nd (West-Central) and smallest in the 5th (East.)

And if you haven't seen the Appalachia-loves-Hillary map yet, Josh Marshall has a great analysis.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.