Sunday, May 11, 2008

Obama Gets Big Eastern Kentucky Endorsement

Barack Obama has long been the favored candidate of the Golden Triangle, yuppies in Louisville and Lexington being his base. Endorsements from Louisville Congressman John Yarmuth and Lexington Congressman Ben Chandler just locked up Central Kentucky for Obama.

But the Golden Triangle is easy for any Democratic Presidential nominee. It's Eastern and Western Kentucky voters who can kill a Democrat running statewide.

Lt. Governor Dan Mongiardo, an Eastern Kentucky native and former state senator from Hazard, knows that better than anyone. In 2004, he was beating incumbent republican Senator Jim Bunning 59 minutes after the polls closed in Eastern and Central Kentucky. Then the polls closed in Western Kentucky. In a hour, Mongiardo dropped from winning by four to losing by one.

Obama can't win Kentucky in November without big-name endorsements from Eastern and Western Kentucky.

Saturday, he got the former.

"I am happy to announce my endorsement of Senator Barack Obama for President," said Lt. Gov. Mongiardo. "I believe Senator Obama can unite the Democratic Party and build a coalition of Independents and Republicans to win in November. A proven leader at working across the partisan aisle, he will bring relief to the hardworking families of Kentucky and a responsible end to the war in Iraq. As a surgeon I am particularly impressed with Senator Obama's plan to deliver health care to all Americans, with an imperative focus on cutting medical costs for all families. It's time for real change in Washington, and Sen. Obama is the candidate to deliver that change."

Mongiardo is not a super delegate, but Governor Steve Beshear (a Western Kentucky native) is.

Beshear will serve as a superdelegate at the Democratic National Convention in August but hasn't announced which Democratic presidential candidate he will support.

Mongiardo, a former state senator from Hazard, is the second key adviser to Beshear to back Obama. Beshear's chief of staff, Jim Cauley, ran Obama's successful 2004 run for U.S. Senate in Illinois.

The last three Kentucky super delegates who have not endorsed are Beshear, state party chair Jennifer Moore and party elder Terry McBrayer.

Supposedly they're waiting until after the May 20 primary, but by then they'll be irrelevant.

Friday night, Senator Clinton was the headliner at the big Kentucky Democratic Party fundraiser in Louisville. On Friday morning, the KDP was sending out desperate emails offering $50 tickets for free and begging people to just show up.

Tomorrow night, Barack Obama will be at a free event in Louisville. If he fills the room Clinton couldn't, will that be enough to sway Beshear?

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.