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The House stands alone
Democratic candidate Jack Conway greets a 94 year old supporter in Paducah. Photo submitted by Berry Craig

Democratic candidate Jack Conway called the Kentucky governor's election a race "between the mainstream and the extreme."

The extreme won.

Republican Governor-elect Matt Bevin's extremism is nowhere plainer than in his hatred for unions.

Before Tuesday night, Gov. Steve Beshear and a Democratic-majority Kentucky House of Representatives were all that stood between us and a "right to work" law and repeal of the prevailing wage.

Now the House stands alone.

Bevin and the GOP will soon set their sights on grabbing the legislature's lower chamber. They're already bragging about fielding candidates to challenge every Democratic incumbent.

They'll have plenty of cash to turn the House Republican.

Meanwhile, the postmortems have begun. Anti-union pundits and politicians doubtless will start preaching organized labor's funeral.

We heard the palaver and the dirges when union-busting Republican Ernie Fletcher was elected governor in 2003. That was also a dark and stormy November night for organized labor in the Bluegrass State.

Fletcher figured he was riding the wave. He pushed a "right to work law" and failed. His hubris resulted in a hiring scandal that made him "One Term Ern."

Only time will tell about Bevin, the guy Sen. Mitch McConnell called "a pathological liar" and an "East Coast Con Man" when they butted heads in last year's Republican senatorial primary.

Labor-endorsed, Conway, the state's outgoing attorney general, is a centrist. Bevin, a tea party hero, is straight from the GOP's uber-conservative, compromise-is-surrender base. To them, politics is a holy war and the Democrats are the infidels.

Bevin will soon discover, if he hasn't already, that House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, doesn't scare easily. If the quick-tempered Bevin tries the table-banging, my-way-or-the-highway approach with the gentleman from House District 95, he'll find out that dog won't hunt.

Stumbo, by the way, was attorney general when Fletcher was governor. He led the investigation into Fletcher's shady hiring practices which resulted in indictments.

Democrat Andy Beshear will be the AG under Bevin. Like AG Stumbo, Beshear, outgoing Gov. Steve Beshear's son, will doubtless see his role as watchdog, not lapdog for the administration.

"Mourn the dead and fight like hell for the living," Mother Jones famously said. So let's mourn our loss but get ready to fight like hell to help the Democrats hold the House.


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