In the last few weeks, as some got all worked up heading into state-wide elections, there was hardly any talking about voting records, policy stances, budget concerns. Regional concerns (outside of central Kentucky) were rarely mentioned. State-wide issues, too, didn’t seem to be on the front burner.
Sure there was the occasional written article or television story about something tangible in the campaigns between incumbent governor Steve Beshear and challenger David Williams. But most of them seemed obligatory, scratching the surface with stock questions.
Even the candidates own time— their paid advertisements— skirted most real issues.
No, one of the state’s most uninspiring races in recent history boiled down to Gov. Beshear being a Democrat (which apparently means he is President Barack Obama and hates all things coal). Or, on the other hand, Sen. Williams abusing taxpayer dollars by purchasing a television bigger than the roof many of his constituents sleep under.
Nevermind the fact that Kentucky is one of the country’s largest producers of cars and trucks, thanks in large part to plants in Louisville and Bowling Green. Nevermind that, throughout the 1990s and a more recent resurgence, Kentucky was one of the country’s fastest growing states for adding manufacturing jobs. Or that we have the fourth highest number of farms.
But maybe that was just the natural course of things. Maybe each side viewed the inevitable outcome as... inevitable.
Afterall, there’s enough evidence to suggest a link between winning and whoever raises the most campaign money. In Beshear’s case, around $10 million in his war chest was enough for a 20-point win over his challenger.
For one part, people like winners. Especially winners who might be in a position to look back at them favorably. It’s easier to give if you expect the money is going to the guy everyone already expects to win.
There’s also the advanced picture one can paint with a larger check book. Most voters already had a mental picture of Williams as the Bully from Burkesville, who sat around in running mate Richie Farmers’ taxpayer funded hotel room (located a few miles from his house) watching poker tournaments on the big screen.
By the time Williams tried to get his message out, it was too late. He couldn’t overcome the business side of politics.