Sunday, May 11, 2008

Race to Challenge Mitch McConnell: Fischer Endorsements

With nine days left and still 19 points down, Kentucky Democratic Senate Primary candidate Greg Fischer has picked up the endorsement of the state's second-largest (but best) newspaper, the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Vote Fischer in Senate primary: Newcomer offers fresher voice, less baggage than Lunsford
Greg Fischer wants the chance to unseat McConnell this fall. Seven Democrats are seeking the opportunity to run against Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell this fall, but just two of the candidates have a legitimate shot at winning their party's nomination in the May 20 primary.

Greg Fischer and Bruce Lunsford have much in common. Both are Louisville businessmen capable of self-financing part of their campaigns.


Each of these two men would be a worthy candidate for the Democratic Party. And either would be a preferable alternative to McConnell, who has spent 24 years in the Senate serving his rich friends and campaign contributors far more ably than he has served Kentucky.

The bottom line for Democrats comes down to the question of which candidate has the best chance of defeating McConnell in November.

Lunsford has more name recognition, courtesy of two unsuccessful gubernatorial campaigns. And he probably could put more of his own money into the race.

But baggage accompanies Lunsford into any race he runs, baggage that has been thoroughly vetted in previous campaigns and will not be rehashed here.

Fischer is the fresh face in the race, the untested political novice. And frankly, he hasn't run the best of campaigns in the primary. If he wins, he will need to do far better against McConnell.

But Fischer has a couple of things that speak in his favor.

One is the fact that, as a novice, he delivers the message of change with a fresher voice.

He makes that message resonate with more hope, more idealism, more commitment.

And if "change" is the message the Democrats think can inspire Kentucky voters in November, who better to deliver it than a fresh face with a fresh voice?

The second thing is the simple fact that Fischer lacks Lunsford's baggage.

Whomever the Democrats nominate, McConnell will loose the attack dogs on him, just as he has loosed them on all comers for 24 years. But as Fischer asks, why give McConnell "a target-rich environment"?

Between Lunsford and Fischer, there is no bad choice for Democrats. They're both good candidates who would represent the state well in the Senate.

However, Fischer's fresh voice and lack of baggage for McConnell to target give him a slight edge in this primary race.

I'm afraid that Lunsford hatred and hopefulness generated by the Obama campaign have led the Herald astray.

But I can't deny that the closer we get to a primary which Bruce Lunsford, unfortunately, is going to win in a landslide, the more endorsements Fischer picks up.

On Friday, Fischer's campaign sent out this email:

A host of prominent Jefferson County Democrats, including former Louisville Mayor David Armstrong, former Congressman Ron Mazzoli, and Speaker Pro-Tem of the Kentucky House of Representatives Larry Clark, endorsed Greg Fischer Thursday in a ceremony on the steps of the Jefferson County Courthouse in Downtown Louisville.

"We're taking this campaign across Kentucky -- courthouse to courthouse-- and the response is overwhelming," Fischer said, addressing the crowd. Fischer promised he would fight for working people in Kentucky to control gas prices and to lessen U.S. dependence on foreign oil, that he would fight for quality, affordable health care for every American and that he would work to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq. He promised to bring meaningful change to Washington.

Mayor Armstrong and Rep. Mazzoli both spoke of Fischer's honesty, integrity and conviction.

Invoking his belief that Fischer is the best Democratic candidate to run againt Mitch McConnell this fall, former State Sen. David Karem stirred the crowd with a ringing endorsement: "If you support John Yarmuth for Congress, you want Greg Fischer on the Democratic ticket. If you support Hillary Clinton for President, you want Greg Fischer on the Democratic ticket. If you support Barak Obama for president, you want Greg Fischer on the Democratic ticket."

The list of endorsers who attended yesterday's event also included: State Representative Mary Lou Marzian, State Senator Perry Clark, State Representative Jim Wayne and State Representative Tom Burch.

They're promising endorsements from "grass roots leaders" next week.

I'm not endorsing Fischer, Lunsford or anyone else in this ludicrous farce of a Senate primary. Whoever "wins" will be shark bait in November anyway.

But if you want to read the eloquent case for Lunsford from someone who made his reputation exposing and condemning Lunsford, check out Media Czech at Barefoot and Progressive.

Cross-posted at Blue in the Bluegrass.