The unexpected happened in yesterday’s Kentucky Derby. A 20 to 1 long shot won. The same could happen in next Saturday’s special election.
The only recent poll not commissioned by one of the campaigns has Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin as the favorite in the Democrat race, and Former Secretary of State Betty Ireland the Republican favorite.
If you think about the field of 19 horses in the Derby and the 14 candidates in the Governor’s race there are a lot of similarities. No one knew much about any of the horses and it appears none of the candidates have caught the attention of voters.
Even those most active in their political party have shown little interest.
The candidate selection likely rests in the hands of those not voting. However, a long shot could win if a campaign has identified their voters and has a Get-Out-To-Vote effort in place.
Nastiness has finally found its way into the campaign. A dust up started last week between the two likely leading GOP candidates. A POLITICO blog reported GOP candidate Bill Maloney had contributed to various Democrats in the past. Later on Friday the blog was updated that Betty Ireland had contributed to Democratic legislative candidates ten years ago.
The campaign managers in both camps started a battle of words over this minor development. If either of them followed West Virginia politics they would know this happens in a small state like ours all the time. It’s no big deal; it will not cost either candidate the nomination.
The nastiness also reached into the Democratic primary. John Perdue released a negative television commercial. Perdue’s ad says the family of Earl Ray Tomblin who raises greyhounds has benefited because of Tomblin’s service in the State Senate.
It seems to me this TV spot will have little effect. Basically it is a day late and a dollar short.
The long awaited Odgen newspapers endorsement for the May 14th primary came on Saturday. Candidates for public office covet this endorsement. It is always thoughtful, puts the interest of the State ahead of politics and appears in at least five WV newspapers.
Since Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin became acting Governor the Odgen newspapers have written many favorable editorials regarding Governor Tomblin’s work as Governor. As a result this weekend’s endorsement was a bit surprising. While they endorsed acting Governor Tomblin they appeared to give acting Senate President Jeff Kessler a nod.
When it came to the Republican candidates they offered strong support to Betty Ireland’s candidacy. My take is a candidate who offers specifics of what they will do when elected pays off. That is exactly what Ireland’s “11-Point Plan to Get West Virginians Working Again does.
Ireland’s hometown newspaper The Charleston Daily Mail did not treat her as well. They placed their bet on Morgantown businessman Bill Maloney.
The last ten days has found Bill Maloney making a strong push. The direct mail, radio & television ads may be just a little late to put him across the finish line next Saturday. But as a political strategy it could be laying the ground work to enter the race in 2012. Remember it is only three months after the October election when candidates begin to file for the 2012 election.
Based on past performance if Betty Ireland fails to cross the finish line first she is likely to be found at the gate again.
If I were at track looking at the field of long shot Democrats I would see them crossing the finish line in this order: John Perdue, Natalie Tennant, Rick Thompson, Jeff Kessler and Arne Moltis.
There is still a race between Ireland and Maloney. My order of Republican long shots would be Clark Barnes, Mark Sorsaia, Mitch Carmichael, Larry Faircloth, Ralph William Clark and Cliff Ellis.