The primary elections are behind us, so here’s a quick rundown of what stood out for us in the results last night:
- As LEO Weekly has been saying since the moment that Congressman Geoff Davis announced his retirement, Lewis County Judge-Executive Thomas Massie will be Kentucky’s new congressman from the 4th District, which now includes a large swath of east Louisville.
Massie absolutely dominated, finishing 16 percent ahead of the second place finisher, Alecia Webb-Edgington, and tripling the vote total of Gary Moore, who placed a distant third. As we’ve also mentioned, the fact that Webb-Edgington and Moore split the traditional Republican establishment vote helped Massie, as their combined votes could have competed with him.
In the general election, Massie will face Democrat Bill Adkins, who is a bright and liberal guy. Unfortunately for him, the 4th District is not especially known for being kind to candidates with those traits, so November will likely be ugly, and Mr. Massie will go to Washington.
The larger message of this blowout win? Mitch McConnell is no longer the GOP Kingmaker in Kentucky. Ever since Rand Paul whipped his boy Trey Grayson in 2010, McConnell has sworn off of ever butting into a primary again, and he’s lived up to that pledge. Rand Paul had also lived up to that pledge, endorsing every imaginable Tea Party candidate throughout the country, but leaving his friends running for office within the Kentucky border out to dry. That changed when Jim Bunning decided to give a full-throated endorsement to Webb-Edgington, and a back-handed slap of Paul’s face to the press. With Paul jumping in for Massie, a close lead became a blowout.
Rand Paul is simply more powerful among the GOP in Kentucky than Mitch McConnell these days, no matter how many videos McConnell releases that portray him as an invincible Golden God. But the jury is still out on how Paul decides to use that power in Kentucky from this point on, if at all. He can either make Kings in 2014, or he can kiss Mitch’s ring and hope that Mitch supports his presidential campaign in 2016. We like the odds on the latter… that is if Mitch survives re-election in 2014 and is still around.
- With Massie’s big win, this primary was a big victory for the Tea Party in Kentucky, right? Not so fast. Besides Massie’s win, this primary was full of blowout defeats for Tea Party candidates.
In the Senate 9th race, self-funded Tea Partier Don Butler filled the air with radio ads featuring odd and repeated attacks against David Williams, saying that incumbent Sen. David Givens did what he said. That didn’t work, as Butler lost by 52 percent. In the Senate 15th, the TP brigade was pulling for Mark Polston to pull an upset over Hal Rogers’ boy Chris Girdler, but Girdler won by 10 percent.
In the House 19th of east Louisville, Louisville Tea Party vice president Scott Reed was blown out by longtime incumbent and vaguely moderate Rep. Bob DeWeese. And yes, Virginia, there are no such things as Tea Party Democrats: LTP founder and president Wendy Caswell lost epically to real Democratic Rep. Reginald Meeks by close to 60 percent in the House 42nd Democratic primary in the West End/Old Louisville. And while the Northern Kentucky Tea Party hoped to purge Rep. Addia Wuchner, one of the most conservative legislators in Frankfort, Cathy Flaig, went down to a 9-point defeat.
Their only bright spots around the state that we can find are the victories of Chris Hightower in the House 16th — he’s famous for his stint in a thrash mental band called Commander and for getting fired by Rand Paul’s campaign in 2009 — and our very own Marilyn Parker here in Louisville, as the Birther Joe McCarthy-in-heels edged out longtime incumbent Jon Ackerson by a margin of just 38 votes.
But even with those two wins and the blowout Massie victory, this isn’t exactly a great sign for the Tea Party in Kentucky. After the banner year of 2010, they followed up in the 2011 primaries by striking out against David Williams. They were able to pull off some upsets down the ballot, but those candidates such as Bill Johnson and John Kemper were blown out in November. And now in 2012, they fell far short in GOP primaries for state office. But at least the Massie victory shows that in federal races, with the influence of libertarian PAC money and Rand Paul, they still have some mojo. Their next big test — with the relative dearth of candidates making it to the general this fall — will be in the 2014 primary… Sen. McConnell hopes the Tea Party won’t be around by that time, and if they don’t bother to challenge the man who represents everything they claim is wrong with the Republican Party, they might as well not exist.
- Morgan McGarvey won the competitive Democratic primary in the Senate 19th, fending off a spirited campaign by environmental engineer and activist Sarah Lynn Cunningham. The race was closer than many thought it would be — considering McGarvey spent far more than any candidate and was the only one on TV — but he still won comfortably by 6 percent. The next big hurdle for the young senator — facing no Republican opponent in the fall — is redistricting, as the Republicans in the Senate are set to create new maps that could easily mess with the 19th, as they tried to this January. And then there’s David Williams, who McGarvey attacked as the problem in Frankfort in his mailers. If David Williams is still in leadership next November, he’ll probably have a bag of tricks waiting for Morgan so that he can screw him over just as he did to Shaughnessy.
- Doug Hawkins ruined our dreams of a crazy general election between him and Perry Clark this fall in the Senate 37th by running a non-existant campaign. He lost by 23 percent to Chris Thieneman, who has a decent chance of giving Clark a run for his money this fall.
- Our fellow blogger brethren did not fare well last night. Curtis Morrison lost in a landslide to the very quiet Denise Harper Angel in the Senate 35th, but at least he had 334 more votes in the small district than race-baiting blogger Marcus Carey got in the entire 4th congressional District, with a truly pathetic 1.8 percent.
- In the Metro Council races, Attica Woodson Scott cleaned house in District 1 like everyone expected her to. Frank Simon, er, Ray Barker, finished a distant second. Scott is going to be there for a while, unless she moves up to higher office, which could very well happen.
In the 2nd, voters overlooked the nepotism scandal of Barbara Shanklin, giving her an easy victory. Then again, she was also helped by sharing the ballot with two no-name candidates, who split their votes and combined to make up the majority.
Tom Owen brutally crushed his young competition in the 8th, winning 80 percent of the vote. You have learned much, young Bryan Mathews and Mason Roberts, but you are not Jedi of the Highlands, yet.
In the 14th, both the Democratic and Republican nominees to replace retiring Bob Henderson won by a landslide. Democrat Cindi Fowler and Republican Bob Heuglin will face off this fall in a lean Democratic district.
And last but certainly not least, conspiracy theorist and communist hunter Marilyn Parker won the primary over supposed RINO Jon Ackerson by just a handful of votes. There’s a lot of speculation as to which council member Parker will accuse of being a communist or a secret muslim first if she takes office. The early favorite is Tom Owen, by my money is on Attica, without a doubt. She’ll face Democrat and possible Sharia Law devotee Teague Ridge this fall.
We may have lost Doug Hawkins forever, but the gift of Marilyn Parker may be here to ease our pain.