Ernie Fletcher’s First Commercial

You’ve seen Steve Beshear’s first. Now watch Ernie Fletcher’s first commercial of the general election campaign, set to air tomorrow.

Starts out with ominous footage of a couple rundown casinos and sad-looking elderly individuals at slot machines. Is this pandering or the beginning of a real fight?

Would be interesting to know where this footage was taken. Fill us in if you know.

Living in Poverty

Poverty in Kentucky - MapWe’re map geeks at Page One. What do maps have to do with living in poverty? Well, while wasting countless hours looking through graphical analysis I stumbled upon something that hits home here in the Bluegrass State. It’s a map at Social Explorer (choose Poverty from the middle drop down menu) detailing the percentage of the population living in poverty (rather, all 120 counties in Kentucky along with the % of their population living in poverty). The map was created based on the latest census data so take it with a grain of salt. Reality is likely a bit darker.

Poverty - Front PorchLooking at the poorest region of Kentucky, the Appalachians of the east, one really has to question why neither of our two gubernatorial candidates are actively discussing ways to improve the situation, nor are they making poverty a centerpiece of their campaigns. A quick search of Beshear’s website reveals only a few instances of the term ‘poverty’ and there is only one instance on Fletcher’s.

What does this mean for the future of the Commonwealth?

Read moreLiving in Poverty

Non-Partisan Group Turns Up the Heat

Saturday, non-partisan group Change for Kentucky hosted houseparties all across the state. Their purpose? To introduce individuals not typically political to the slate of Steve Beshear and Daniel Mongiardo.

The gatherings, while not organized with raising funds in mind, turned up several low-dollar donations. According to the group’s leader, Mike Bailey, “these new donors will now follow the news, pay more attention to campaign commercials, and discuss the campaign with their friends because they’ve invested themselves.” This new-ish strategy of direct campaigning and raising unitemized contributions has become key to developing a strong grassroots base.

We may be wrong, but it’s been a while since we’ve seen the other side of the aisle try to motivate voters on such a personal level. Perhaps all parties and candidates should take note in order to begin making politics about the people they’re meant to represent.

Beshear’s First Ad in the General Election

Not too hard-hitting. Will they turn up the heat? Speaks of change and cleaning Frankfort up. Interesting that there’s no mention or appearance of Dan Mongiardo, his running mate.

Is this version unique to the Louisville media market? Surely they’re capitalizing on Mongiardo elsewhere.

See it for yourself and share what you think.

View a non-YouTube version of the commercial after the jump

Read moreBeshear’s First Ad in the General Election

Where there’s smoke…

For as long as there have been politicians in Kentucky, there’s been a powerful lobbying faction working for tobacco farmers. Tobacco farmers have prospered, tobacco interests have profited, and tobacco users have been dying for decades.

Smoker - KentuckyCigarette sales flourish in Kentucky, which ranks first or second in every study ranking states by per capita rates for lung cancer and other smoking-related deaths. Two years ago, Kentucky’s legislature passed an increase on cigarette taxes, lifting the state out of last place by boosting the tax from three cents to 30 cents.

The adversity faced by tobacco interests has never been stronger than it is today, and their ability to hold politicians accountable to them is wavering. Earlier this month, a pair of Kentucky congressmen voted for a 45-cent national tax on cigarettes in Congress. Ben Chandler, whose district represents many of those farmers, apparently felt the virtues of the Children’s Health and Medicare Protection Act outweighed the risks at home of voting against big tobacco.

Read moreWhere there’s smoke…

Southern Political Report: Smart money sticking with Beshear

Southern Political Report says the smart money is on Steve Beshear in the upcoming November election for Governor.

While making several points of Democratic strength, they don’t completely kick Ernie to the woodshed. If Fletcher is successfully able to change the subject, they suggest, Reagan Democrats could turn out to cast their ballots for him. That’s if he can get those voters to focus on the risks of expanding gaming, the ills of providing domestic partner benefits and the positives of his alleged accomplishments. Those accomplishments are said to include higher pay for teachers and fiscal “surpluses.” Broke (financially), failing schools and the pending retiree pension fund disaster weren’t mentioned.

Political strategist Dale Emmons is quoted. Here’s an excerpt:

Despite an awareness that the media at Fancy Farm focused a lot of attention on Fletcher’s attacks on Beshear, Democrats remain very optimistic about this election’s outcome. “Fletcher did the only thing he can do, that is raise the issues that he’s raised,” says Democratic consultant Dale Emmons. But “I don’t see a scenario where Ernie Fletcher wins this race.” He points to press reports that Democrats outnumbered Republicans at Fancy Farm “by two or three to one,” in contrast to the usual even split. And he adds that the GOP is “badly fractionalized.” Indeed, polls show that most Republicans who supported Northup in the primary have yet to move into Fletcher’s camp.

Will Ernie be able to change the subject? We’ll know quite soon. Beshear commercials begin airing on Monday. Fletcher will follow on Tuesday.

Oh Snap Monday

Thou Shalt Not — Al Cross calls out the Gubnuh, he’s bearing false witness against Beshear by saying he wants to take away your guns. Nevermind that the facts don’t support Ernie’s charges. (Yeah, we’re a little biased toward the truth on this one) [C-J]

Girls Left Out? Ellen Goodman says all political bloggers are pasty white guys. Ladies, show some initiative, would you! Don’t you realize you don’t exist if Ellen doesn’t know about you? It’s an Arianna-only world, apparently. As you can see, starting a blog is as easy as… [C-J by way of Boston Globe]

The War at Home – Mitch McConnell is getting some love from veterans – one group is airing ads supporting him for sending 3,680 soldiers, and counting, to their deaths in Iraq. Vets for Freedom? Is this another Swiftboat Vets for Truth? Kentucky’s Andrew Horne chimes in. [H-L]

Treasuring One Less Office – Melinda Wheeler makes her case for getting rid of the treasurer’s office, without mentioning her criticism of the current office holder. Will the News-Enterprise give her opponent, Todd Hollenbach, a chance to respond or is this a free campaign ad? [News-Enterprise]

David Adams (the guy with the best one-liners ever. seriously.) of Kentucky Progress condemns Kos’ take that he had something to do with Chandler’s victory and Harold Ford, Jr. alleges the site Markos Moulitsas operates is but a platform for anti-semitism. [KY Progress, dailyKos]

Bush’s Brain tucks tail and runs. He “just thinks it’s time”… since his rump is on the line. Now everything will be puppies and rainbows, right? RIGHT? [WSJ]