Sunday, November 04, 2007

Downplaying Party Affiliation

In Kentucky, Republicans made a valiant but unsuccessful effort to defeat incumbent governor Ernie Fletcher in the primary. Dr. Fletcher's (he is an M.D.) administration has been marred by scandal, though even his opponents seem to agree that his problem has been more administrative and political ineptitude than actual corruption. His Republican opponents have refused to endorse him in the general election, leaving the party in turmoil and giving his opponent, Steve Beshear a 20 point lead in the polls.

Given the disarray of the party on the state level and the unpopularity of the Republican administration in Washington, it was surprising to me (I'm visiting the state over the weekend) to note that the Democratic candidate for Attorney General, Jack Conway, who also has a double digit lead in his race, doesn't mention his party affiliation in the television ad that I saw last night. A generation ago, being the Democratic candidate would have virtually guaranteed election in the state. Yet, currently, even with Republicans on the defensive on both the state and national level, being a Democrat is not now considered to be an advantage in the state.

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