By Bill Estep and Jack Brammer – firstname.lastname@example.org
FANCY FARM – Political theater is a tradition at Fancy Farm, and the 130th edition Saturday didn’t disappoint.
Attorney General Jack Conway, the Democratic nominee, had a “Rand Paul Waffle House” set up behind the stage to highlight the charge that Paul has changed positions on several issues, or that his beliefs are risky.
Volunteers at the booth passed out menus with items such as “Rand’s Balanced Budget Biscuit. Don’t ask for the secret recipe — Rand won’t tell you.”
Conway has criticized Paul for saying he would vote to balance the federal budget his first year in office without offering specifics on cuts.
Conway also had a man in a costume identified as NeanderPaul – a criticism that Paul would turn back federal protections for the disabled, miners and others.
For his part, Paul had someone parading around in a Flipper dolphin suit, an allegation that Conway has flip-flopped on a proposal to regulate carbon emissions from power plants, expressing support for it last year before opposing the “cap and trade” legislation this year.
Grayson in 2011?
It was a point several speakers made at Republican events during the weekend of the 130th Fancy Farm picnic: Trey Grayson’s political future is not over despite losing to Rand Paul in the Republican U.S. Senate primary.
Saturday, Grayson confirmed it’s possible he’ll be on the ballot in 2011.
Grayson, the secretary of state, wouldn’t say how likely it is he’ll run.
But he said he’s thinking about various possibilities, and that state treasurer is the only office he’d rule out seeking.
It may have been his strongest statement yet about running next year instead of taking a break from office, as some people speculated he would after the bruising, 24-point primary loss.
Grayson said he was encouraged by being at Fancy Farm, which draws political junkies like honey draws bees. Several Democrats told him they would have voted for him in November if he’d won, Grayson said.
“That made me feel real good,” he said.
Paul and Republicans didn’t laugh at much the Democrats said during their speeches, but Conway got a laugh out of Grayson, at least, while getting the audience to chant “accidents happen” – a reference to a statement Paul made about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and a coal-mine disaster.
What did McConnell (who backed Grayson in the primary) say to the national GOP senatorial committee the day after Paul won, Conway asked?
“Accidents happen,” his supporters yelled. Grayson laughed.
For his party, Conway smiled broadly when McConnell joked about the speeches being on a seven-second delay – referring to Conway’s saying a curse word at last year’s event, prompting a new no-cussing rule this year.
David Williams in 2011?
Many people believe Senate President David Williams, a Burkesville Republican, will run for governor in 2011, but he continued to demur when asked about that Saturday at the Graves County Republican breakfast, where he was master of ceremonies.
The focus should be on November’s races, he said.
But Phil Moffett, a Louisville businessman who has started a campaign for governor and hopes to win the backing of Tea Party movement activists, said he’s sure he’ll be facing Williams.
“I think it’s a foregone conclusion,” he said.
Williams made it a point to reach out to those in the Tea Party movement at the breakfast.
“Welcome to our party. We’re stronger for your presence,” he said.
Paul won the primary with the backing of people in the Tea Party movement.
On the Democratic side, state Auditor Crit Luallen warned at a Friday night speech that if Paul wins, it will embolden Tea Party candidates to run across the nation.
“We have to stop it right here, right now,” she said.
Richie Farmer in 2011?
There has been speculation that Richie Farmer, the Republican state commissioner of agriculture and University of Kentucky basketball icon, will run for lieutenant governor with Williams.
But Robert Farmer of Louisville, a Democrat who is running for ag commissioner – a post Richie Farmer can’t seek again – said he thinks the outgoing commissioner will take a different path next year.
“He’ll be secretary of state and then he’ll just walk into the governor’s office” later, Robert Farmer opined.
Farmer hasn’t said whether he’ll run next year, or for what.
The race between Paul and Conway has gotten a lot of national attention this year, in part because Paul has embraced the mantle of Tea Party candidate and is the son of longtime Congressman Ron Paul. The presence of a GOP heavy hitter at a Republican breakfast Saturday reinforced the race’s national importance.
Eric Cantor, the U.S. House minority whip and a rising star in the party, spoke at the breakfast in Mayfield, telling a standing-room crowd that one reason America is great is people like Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and yes, even Barack Obama, can rise from humble roots to be president.
But that was the last positive thing he said about Obama. Republicans must wrest control from Obama and the Democrats or the country will slide further into debt under an over-reaching government, he said.
“They believe in a government so huge that it will interfere in every aspect of our lives,” Cantor said, echoing Paul’s message.
McConnell and Obama
Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell noted he had a one-on-one meeting with Preisdent Obama last week – the first since Obama took office about 18 months ago.
McConnell pointed out Obama’s approval rating was much higher early in his term than it is now.
That was an apparent suggestion the president didn’t feel he needed to deal with the GOP Senate leader earlier.
McConnell said he couldn’t say what they talked about, but that he expects to be talking to Obama a lot more next year.
That was a suggestion the Republicans are going to gain enough seats to command the chief executive’s greater attention.
They’re not ready for American Idol, but Gov. Steve Beshear and former Gov. Paul Patton did a passable job signing “My Old Kentucky Home” at the Democratic breakfast Saturday after Appeals Court Judge Christopher Shea Nickell got them to join in.
“We can sing better than the Republicans and we sure can govern better than the Republicans,” Beshear said.
Gatewood still unindicted
The inimitable Gatewood Galbraith is running for governor in 2011 as an independent, and he showed it this weekend, taking advantage of the crowd to pass out flyers Friday night outside a Democratic event, and then outside a GOP event on Saturday morning with his running mate, Dea Riley.
He also hasn’t lost his sense of humor in his fourth race for governor.
“I’m still unindicted,” he quipped when someone asked how he was doing.
Rocky Adkins in 2011?
House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, acknowledged he is getting encouragement to run for governor next year.
But Adkins said he is focused on keeping and, if possible, expanding the Democratic majority in the House this November.
He said Democrats are “very confident” in their candidates.
For his part, Adkins’ GOP counterpart, Republican Minority Leader Jeff Hoover of Jamestown, said the GOP has its strongest field of challengers ever.
Filed Under: Elections