Three Reasons Why Carroll Hubbard Won His Race
Ivan Potter, West Kentucky Journal
Back in the spring of 2012, at the regional West Kentucky Republican dinner, held at the Curris Center, Murray State University, emotions ran high as party faithful and insider consultants caressed notebooks of anti Carroll Hubbard newspaper clippings from his time in political office. They talked of hard hitting TV spots with “really nasty stuff” that would remind the voters of Hubbard’s hard time with the government. Rumors even abounded that hinted Senator Mitch McConnell had personally ordered a campaign to destroy Hubbard once and for all.
But a funny thing happened along the campaign trail, Hubbard never got the message to lie down and let the Mitch McConnell steamroller run over him.
To many observers it seemed that wherever five or more people gathered, Hubbard was there to tell his story. Event after event, Carroll Hubbard spoke of his campaign to save the Purchase from the evils of Republican rule.
Hubbard would use events in Paducah to network into the Democratic Party or support in his race. Money and word of mouth soon established a strong regional platform for the Hubbard message. No matter who the Governor came down into the Purchase to campaign for, Carroll Hubbard was there in the room to help the cause of good Democrats. This was especially true in the Kelly Whitaker and Hal Kemp receptions when the Governor passed along $10,000 into each of the House campaigns.
When the votes are counted on Tuesday night next, Hubbard’s hard work will have paid off. He will win his Senate race for three reasons: (1) out working his opponent, (2) Republican threat failed to materialized and (3) the message of political geography.
(1) Marathon Man
Over the course of 2012, it is estimated that Carroll Hubbard appeared at and worked some 180 events in ten counties. Wherever he went, he asked for votes. He raised money and he established a strong base of networking in key counties. He reawakened a lifetime of supporters to rally around his message. It worked. He outran the Republican Party in his back yard of the southern counties of the Jackson Purchase.
(2) Mitch is asleep at the switch
Threats early on the campaign trail talked of Mitch McConnell planning to mount a blistering attack in the rich potential open House and Senate seats of the Jackson Purchase. Word from Frankfort was how the bright young judge executive would become a rising republican star who would help hold territory for McConnell’s 2014 bid for another US Senate victory.
The GOP best laid plans were defeated by the geography and dynamics of trying to fight in five separate local elections at the same time as trying to take out Hubbard. Within the geography of Senate District 2 are parts of House District 1, House District 2, House District 3, House District 4, and House District 5.
Mitch had no field general to fight deep into the trenches of precinct politics. Hubbard fought his battle church by church dinner meeting, county political meetings, and issue debates. Democrats Kelly Whitaker, in the 2nd and Hal Kemp in the 5th generated professional hard hitting ground and air attacks.
At the end of the day, both Mitch and his junior, Stan Humphries, failed to gain a foothold deep into Graves or Calloway Counties.
(3) Ramming geography home to the voter
Hubbard produced one of the greatest and most devastating radio and print political ads ever to be used in the Jackson Purchase. On radio, Hubbard had a 60 second ad that made one very simple point. He said if you vote for the Republicans, then you will have only one voice left in the Jackson Purchase and that would be Senator Leeper, an Independent, who votes Republican.
This would mean that the Republicans would have senators from the cities of Cadiz, Hopkinsville, Madisonville, Henderson, and Owensboro to speak for West Kentucky. Hubbard has been very successful in summarizing the entire campaign down to where the voters live. The question that he asks is simply, “Do you want to give up your representation to someone in the Pennyrile or do you want me, from the Jackson Purchase to speak for your interests in Frankfort?”
During the last three weeks of this campaign, this one message gained ground in the counties west of the Lakes.