After Tuesday's Kentucky election where Democrats greatly benefited from the scandals of the current GOP Governor, attention has immediately turned to who will run against Senator McConnell in November '08. We need to focus on who is the best candidate for the job, and who is the best candidate in a matchup against Mitch.
It seems that the new leadership of the Kentucky Democratic Party is split over two names Lt. Col. Andrew Horne and Crit Luallen. While Crit Luallen does has decent name ID, she is liked amongst small Democratic circles and has some things to offer a voter keen to dismiss McConnell, she will not appeal to the necessary majority nearly enough to grant her McConnell's Senate seat. I like her a LOT, but she is not ready to take on the McConnell machinery. I wish that were not the case, but McConnell will rip her to pieces in a general and win yet another term.
The Question Democrats in Kentucky have to answer, Lt. Col. Andrew Horne or Crit Luallen?
For the sake of brevity, I will lay out the top ten (of many) reasons why I believe that Lt. Col. Andrew Horne is the one and only candidate that can give Sen. McConnell a real run for his money.
- USMC Lt. Col. [Ret.] Horne will appeal to the most loyal voters of both political parties: 65+, ALL of whom have personal or indirect affiliation with the Armed Forces. Mitch McConnell does not, Greg Stumbo does not, Crit Luallen does not.
- Lt. Col. Horne has served in Iraq (twice) and understands how our strategy in Iraq (and the wider Middle East) needs to be strategically refocused in order to promote sound national security policies. He has repeatedly spoken about this number one issue for voters and lobbied Congress on our behalf. In Kentucky he is considered to be the authoritative voice on the need for a responsible redeployment of our troops and the demand to treat them well upon completion of their service. While not the only issue he is prepared to tackle, he is the only potential candidate that can adequately keep the reckless Iraq War as a major campaign issue.
- A military vet running for the seat of the current Republican Senate Leader will produce countless national headlines... and campaign donations from around the country.
- On March 31st, 2007 Horne was chosen to deliver the Democrats' weekly radio address on H.R. 1591 because he is a nationally recognized advocate for military strength and veterans' care. As a Senior Advisor to VoteVets.org, Horne is already familiar to numerous national anti-Iraq War organizations (all of which have a PAC that can benefit his campaign coffers).
- Horne does not belong to either of the factions of the Kentucky Democratic Party. He is not a career politician. He is a lawyer and a veteran. He understands the law (and how to make them) and that millions of people are fighting for the success of our nation, not for the dominance of one political party. Kentucky has recently shown that it is not red, not blue... it is a purple state. Hyper-partisanship no longer appeals to KY voters.
- Andrew Horne is a long time supporter of organized labor. Organized labor is a long time supporter of Andrew Horne. Mitch McConnell has made it abundantly clear that he is no friend of the labor unions. They will remind him of that all year long if we give them a candidate to truly rally behind.
- Andrew Horne is an actual human being, not a cookie cutter politician. He is the kind of guy you want to have a beer with at the end of a long day at work. Horne is a tall, strong and good looking man. Deny it as we may, looks play a part (consciously or not) in American electoral politics. Men, women and reporters enjoy spending time with (and voting for) someone who looks and genuinely "acts the part". After all, this is still Kentucky! Voters in Kentucky cast ballots for someone that reminds them of themselves... Some argue that George W. Bush carried KY twice for that sole reason.
- Crit Luallen was JUST re-elected as State Auditor. To turn around and almost immediately refile for U.S. Senate would put a bad taste in a LOT of voters' mouths (which she would have to do to start raising money to try to compete with McConnell's enormous war chest)... and let's face it, Greg Stumbo just has too much baggage to carry another statewide election. He needs roll his exploratory committee funds over to run for Hal Rogers' seat... and win! (and hold that seat for life, probably)
- Mitch McConnell has a long history of making the campaign about "the other guy's" past. Crit Luallen and Greg Stumbo both have public records that McConnell see as red meat and he will manipulate that past (which is a trait that McConnell has mastered). Horne's background includes being a small business owner, a private practice lawyer and a rise to the rank of Lt. Col. in the USMC. To attack the past of an Iraq War vet is unacceptable in KY. Any outside "swiftboat" ad will be regarded by voters as a negative and self-destructive tactic by Team McConnell.
- Mitch's current campaign funds are somewhere shy of $10 million. Whoever becomes the nominee will be living and fighting a "David vs. Goliath" campaign. To be truly seen as a VIABLE candidate to overcome the odds, one has to be perceived as a true fighter for ALL American people. To lack this vision while selecting our candidate would hand the seat to Mitch for another six years with no need for any election at all! Could there really be any Kentuckian better suited for the task than Andrew Horne?
As a Kentuckian, I fear that the wrong person will be propped up just because she is a party insider. I like Crit a lot... but I like her as I voted for her yesterday, as State Auditor. I do not want to see McConnell be granted another SIX YEARS because we did not provide the voters with a plausible and viable alternative. It is time to DRAFT HORNE