Judge James Hillary Mulligan famously wrote that politics are the darnedest in Kentucky.
Actually, he used a different word that rhymes with “grandest” in his 1902 poem “In Kentucky,” but if I used that word in print, my mother would be disappointed, so I’ve opted for the sanitized version.
There was some validity to that view back in the day, when I favored liberals like Ted Kennedy, George McGovern and Michael Dukakis, but I’ve had a good track record in recent years.
Not so this time.
In Tuesday’s election, with the exception of Senate President David Williams, who narrowly won the primary contest for governor, every candidate I voted for in the Republican primary lost. In the secretary of state’s race, I was for Hilda Legg, who served in the administration of President George H.W. Bush because I thought she was more qualified than Bill Johnson, a substitute teacher and retired Navy officer, who wound up winning. And in the contest for state auditor, I voted for Addia Wuchner, a sensible state representative, who lost to a bankrupt house builder John T. Kemper III. And for commissioner of agriculture, I picked Shelby County Judge-Executive Rob Rothenberger because: a.) he has worked for the Department of Agriculture before, and b.) he isn’t a tea party libertarian. But the tea party guy, James Comer, a state representative, won.
If I had been registered as a Democrat, I would have lost most of those contests, too.
I favored Elaine Walker, our current appointed secretary of state, over Alison Lundergan Grimes, mostly because the Democratic Party machine was for Lundergan, the daughter of former party chief Jerry Lundergan, who has had some, shall we say, ethics issues.
I would have voted for Treasurer Todd Hollenbach because I don’t know who Steve Hamrick is, and I tend to support experienced incumbents unless they give me reason not to support them.
In the race for agriculture commissioner, I was disappointed that my old friend John Lackey of Richmond didn’t win his party’s nomination. If you herded all the ag guys into one place, John, a lawyer and former state senator, would be the smartest guy in the room. He’s the only farmer I know who has degrees from William & Mary, Harvard, Yale and UK Law, yet is about as unpretentious and down-to-earth as they come.
Alas, in Kentucky, it’s the “thoroughbreds,” not the elected officials, who are “the fleetest.”
Same name game 1
Among the oddities of Tuesday’s primary are two involving names. One is the candidate Democrats chose to succeed our farm commissioner, Richie Farmer, is also a farmer named Farmer — Bob Farmer. The other is that, although there were so few names on the ballot this time, two of them were the same: David Williams. One is the Republican candidate for governor whom everyone knows. The other is a guy we should know, because he runs every year for something: Democrat David Williams of Glasgow. I have a theory that 90 percent of those who vote for that David Williams think they’re voting for the other one.
Same name game 2
Judging by the turnout at the board meeting, the contest that was all but forgotten Tuesday was an important one: for naming the new high school. The Louisville carpetbagger, George Rogers Clark, won that race by a landslide. Congratulations to the general.