Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Down Ticket Candidates Continue to Impress
The Republican Party of Kentucky held a fundraiser last night for all the state-wide candidates below Matt Bevin. Bevin, Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Congressman Brett Guthrie were guests of honor.
The event raised $250,000. Not too shabby. Donors had the choice of giving to the party or to the candidate.
I've written before about my friend Allison Ball, who is running for Treasurer, as well as Whitney Westerfield, who is running for Attorney General. Both are outstanding candidates.
Last night, I had the opportunity to meet the rest of the slate. Wow. As McConnell pointed out, not that long ago the party had to dragoon people to run for these down-ticket races. Now we have these stellar candidates; it bodes well for the future of the party. Any of these people, down the road, would be well-suited to run for Congress, U.S. Senate or a governor.
Specifically, I am referring to Ryan Quarles (running for Commissioner of Agriculture); Mike Harmon (running for State Auditor); and Steve Knipper (running for Secretary of State). They had my vote already. Now they will get some of my money. Each of these candidates impressed me as sharp, conservative, and real -- just genuinely nice people.
Quarles appears to be winning against a candidate who doesn't seem very bright. My son commented after he heard her Fancy Farm speech that it was the first time that he had heard someone (Quarles) criticized for being too well-educated. It struck him as ignorant. I've heard similar comments since.
Mike Harmon is running against Adam Edelen. I am going to try to watch that debate. Harmon has a great sense of humor and I expect he will do very well against Edelen. Edelen, meanwhile, is telling people (even elected Republicans) that he plans to run against Sen. Rand Paul. So he is using the position of Kentucky Auditor in the interim. Lots of politicians use lots of offices for spring boards. But to run for reelection when you know that you are already seeking the next office the following year seems slimey and opportunistic.
I was also impressed with Steve Knipper, who is running against Alison Lundergan Grimes. Grimes should be worried about this race coming off her 16 point loss to McConnell. Apparently she is. Knipper noted that after Grimes learned he had worked in China for many years and had adopted five children from that country, Grimes decided it was necessary to take her first trip there to prove her bona fides on international trade. Grimes recently took an introductory IT class; Knipper's background, coincidentally, is in IT. Kipper said he would welcome a debate with her on IT issues. Knipper's central point is that the Secretary of State, which is in charge of elections, registration of corporations and other areas requiring efficient and effective computer technology and software, is very similar to a chief technology officer or chief business officer of a company. It is not a way station for the politician daughter of a politician who longs for higher political office. How fun would it be to finish off the bad Alison once and for all and end the Lundergan dynasty? That, in and of itself, warrants a contribution to Knipper.
The fate of these down-ticket candidates is to a large extent tied to that of Matt Bevin. Each is strong enough, however, that if (God forbid) Jack Conway wins, they could still win -- but only if properly funded. These candidates have disrupted their lives and put themselves out there to advance conservatism and the Republican Party of Kentucky. Let's all do what we can to support them. Not everyone can write a big check, or any check. But we can all post a yard sign or walk a precinct and make some calls.