360 Fireworks Party

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


by Michael Monks 
Covington's role as a Democratic stronghold was strenghtened Tuesday night in Kentucky's statewide election as Democrats won five out of six races in the city's precincts. However, when results came in from the rest of Kenton County, the Republican candidates nearly swept the ballot, winning every position but Governor. Beshear won by roughly 1,500 votes but it was brutal for Democrats down-ticket. That news could serve as a preview of the 2012 election in Covington.
Secretary of State: Despite losing statewide by more than 170,000 votes (61% to 39%), Republican Bill Johnson won Kenton County by a margin of 14,212 to 11,287 (56% to 44%) over Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes. Grimes won Covington.
Attorney General: Democrat Jack Conway rebounded from his 2010 US Seate loss to Rand Paul by winning reelection to his post as Kentucky's top law enforcement official. Conway easily defeated Todd P'Pool, but again, the roles were reversed in Kenton County. P'Pool won the county by a healthy margin of 14,460 to 11,177.
Treasurer: The closest race of the night statewide was not close at all in Kenton County. While Democrat Todd Hollenbach was reelected 49% to 46%, Republican challenger KC Crosibie, who was endorsed by Covington City Commissioner Steve Frank (who cohosted a fundraiser for her at the Ascent) coasted to a Kenton County victory (54% to 38%).
Auditor: The GOP candidate seeking this office has filed for personal bankruptcy protection twice. He was anihilated in the election statewide, 56% - 44%. And yet, Republican John Kemper scored the second biggest win of all in Kenton County commanding 60% over Democrat Adam Edelen here.
Commissioner of Agriculture: Republican James Comer's win, the only one statewide for the GOP, was not a surprise. The margin of his victory in such a great year statewide for the Democrats, on the other hand, is a surprise. Comer won 64% to 36%. Comer not only won Kenton County (68% to 32%), but he even won Covington.
Governor: Saving the best for last... If Kenton County went so handily to the GOP in all the down-ticket races, what happened to David Williams? Remember, the GOP nominee also lost here in the primary to Tea Party hero Phil Moffett. Governor Beshear won Kenton County (51% to 45%) and Covington. In a very bad night for David Williams, the results from Kenton County (and Campbell County too, which had the exact same results) have to be the hardest to swallow.
So do these races mean anything for the 2012 elections in Covington?
Possibly. In 2007, the statewide office races all ended in landslides, but for three Democrats and two Republicans. 
Kentuckians are willing to vote for either party on the same day. In 2010 we learned that Covingtonians are also willing to do that, electing two Democrats and two Republicans to the city commission. Tuesday night's results indicate that Covington still prefers Democrats overall, so that is good news for left-leaning candidates for commission next year. However, with the Republican Comer's victory in the city, Covington proves willing still to vote for Republicans.
Another race to watch that does not look good for Democrats, is the state senate seat held by Republican Jack Westwood. The three-term Erlanger conservative narrowly escaped defeat in 2008 at the hands of Covington's Kathy Groob. That was a good year for Democrats. Tuesday night in Kentucky was a great night for Democrats statewide, but a horrible night for Democrats in NKY. Covington's votes were virtually wiped out by the right-leaning ballots cast in the suburbs. Westwood's district encompasses more than Covington and now that we know he is retiring, we can brace for a seriously tough campaign. Trouble for the Democrats is, the main event for the seat may be the GOP primary.

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