A final political column from H-L’s Ryan Alessi

Ryan Alessi with the Herald-Leader offers some parting thoughts today about his year’s election season in Kentucky in the final edition of his political notebook column. 

Alessi has covered politics and government for the Herald-Leader for nearly six years, and is moving on from the Frankfort bureau to cover the state’s colleges and universities along with higher education trends.

I know Ryan has been a great help to me since I first started covering the legislature in 2006, and is a top-notch reporter who’s going to do a great job on his new beat. 

Best of luck, Ryan.

Wednesday’s front pages

The Poynter Institute has compiled a look at the front pages of various newspapers on Wednesday following Tuesday’s historic election of Democrat Barack Obama as the country’s first black president. 

It’s an interesting look to see what words and images resonated, at least with newspaper folk, during Election Night. 

Here’s are a couple of examples, from The Kansas City Star and The Honolulu Advertiser, that I liked – 




Any other favorites?

AP: McConnell brought Dems on board to win fifth term

Republican Mitch McConnell won his fifth term on Tuesday with help in part from Democratic voters, even those who don’t back Bush or the $700 billion financial markets bailout plan, according to an Associated Press poll. 

Joe Biesk with the AP has a piece this morning looking at what an exit poll of more than 1,400 Kentucky voters found on Election Day. 

Among the other exit poll results – 

  • McConnell had a slight edge in is own party with the support of four out of every five Republicans while Lunsford was selected by three out of every four Democrats. 
  • Six out of every 10 voters considered the economy the top issue in the election, and more than half of those who named it as the top issue backed Lunsford.
  • Lunsford fared better with voters making between $15,000 and $30,000 annually. 

WKU offers analysis of Tuesday’s results

Looking for another take on the results from Tuesday’s election? Members of Western Kentucky University’s political science department have posted their thoughts today on the university’s blog.

Check out the post to read what four professors have to say about races from the presidential contest on down the ticket.

Since I’ve been particularly interested in the 2nd District race this year, here’s what Assistant Professor Joel Turner had to say about the victory by Bowling Green’s Brett Guthrie over David Boswell of Sorgho –

In the congressional race, Brett Guthrie won a key victory for the Republicans, allowing them to hold on to Ron Lewis’ seat and mitigating the losses that the Republicans took in House races. Guthrie’s military background, business background, and legislative experience were key to his victory. Guthrie also benefitted from a fundraising advantages and well as some negative ads placed by the DCCC which seemed to backfire and hurt, rather than help, David Boswell’s cause.

Last night, Scott Jennings with the Guthrie campaign pointed to the DCCC ads as an example of a backfiring strategy for Boswell, but Boswell stood by the way he ran his campaign and thanked the DCCC for the help.

Any thoughts on Turner’s take?

A closer look at the election in Daviess County

The Daviess County Clerk’s office has posted the precinct-by-precinct results from yesterday’s election and here’s a listing of the precinct locations

I haven’t taken a closer look at how Daviess County voted, but hope to make some observations when I have a chance to look through the numbers. Feel free to make your own comments below about how the county voted. 

Also, in case you’re looking for results from races around the state, head to electionresults.ky.gov.

Running update on Kentucky’s 2nd District race

Democrat David Boswell has an early lead in the 2nd District race over Republican Brett Guthrie as results just begin coming in in the 21-county district. 

Boswell has won handily in Marion County, the first county in the expansive district to complete their count. 

Here are the results from the state Board of Elections site in Marion County, where all 17 precincts have been counted – 

Candidate Party Votes Overall % Overall Percent
David E. Boswell D 4,569 65.6% 65.6% percent of the vote
S. Brett Guthrie R 2,399 34.4% 34.4% percent of the vote
Overall, as of 6:45 p.m., Boswell has a 51 percent to 48 percent lead with just less than 6 percent of the district’s precincts reporting. So far, only eight counties have begun posting their results on the state’s Web site.
Boswell has also won the 12 Jefferson County precincts inside the 2nd District by a 10-point margin now that counting has finished there.
Here are totals from Jefferson County – 
Candidate Party Votes Overall % Overall Percent
David E. Boswell D 3,543 55.0% 55.0% percent of the vote
S. Brett Guthrie R 2,903 45.0% 45.0% percent of the vote
Update, 7:05 p.m. 
Guthrie has picked up his first county now that Shelby County has completed their count. 
Guthrie won the county, which sits east of Jefferson County, by a margin of 56 percent to 44 percent.
Candidate Party Votes Overall % Overall Percent
S. Brett Guthrie R 10,073 55.8% 55.8% percent of the vote
David E. Boswell D 7,980 44.2% 44.2% percent of the vote
Overall, Guthrie has also taken a lead in the race where he has received 53 percent of the vote compared to 47 percent for Boswell with 20 percent of the precincts reporting. 
Boswell has also picked up Washington County by a margin of only 33 votes. Here’s the total from Washington County. 
Candidate Party Votes Overall % Overall Percent
David E. Boswell D 2,500 50.3% 50.3% percent of the vote
S. Brett Guthrie R 2,467 49.7% 49.7% percent of the vote
Update, 7:10 p.m. 
Guthrie has picked up another county victory with the completion of the count in Taylor County, where he edged Boswell by a margin of 58 percent to 42 percent. 
Candidate Party Votes Overall % Overall Percent
S. Brett Guthrie R 6,075 58.2% 58.2% percent of the vote
David E. Boswell D 4,367 41.8% 41.8% percent of the vote
Update, 7:20 p.m.
Guthrie has picked up Meade County by a narrow margin. The trio of counties in the area – Meade, Hardin and Bullitt, have been seen by both camps as critical.
Here are the Meade County results – 
Candidate Party Votes Overall % Overall Percent
S. Brett Guthrie R 5,519 50.9% 50.9% percent of the vote
David E. Boswell D 5,317 49.1% 49.1% percent of the vote
Still no results posted from Daviess County, Boswell’s home turf and likely a crucial county for both campaigns.
In Guthrie’s home county – Warren County – he is leading by a two-to-one margin with about 30 percent of precincts reporting.
Update, 7:25 p.m. 
Guthrie picks up yet another county now that Green County has completed its count. The relatively small county went overwhelmingly for Guthrie – 65 percent to 35 percent. 
Here’s the breakdown – 
Candidate Party Votes Overall % Overall Percent
S. Brett Guthrie R 3,023 65.1% 65.1% percent of the vote
David E. Boswell D 1,623 34.9% 34.9% percent of the vote
Update, 7:35 p.m. 
And another county goes to Guthrie. Larue County just finished its count, and Guthrie prevailed in an 11-point victory there. 
Candidate Party Votes Overall % Overall Percent
S. Brett Guthrie R 3,279 55.2% 55.2% percent of the vote
David E. Boswell D 2,659 44.8% 44.8% percent of the vote
Overall, Guthrie appears to be stretching out his lead in the district, but the county is just over a third completed. 
So far, 37.6 percent of the precincts have been counted and Guthrie is leading 54.5 percent to 45.5 percent, or 61,444 to 51,349. 
Update, 7:40 p.m. 
Boswell has picked up Nelson County with a 2-point win by topping Guthrie 8,880 to 8,522. 
Candidate Party Votes Overall % Overall Percent
David E. Boswell D 8,880 51.0% 51.0% percent of the vote
S. Brett Guthrie R 8,522 49.0% 49.0% percent of the vote
Guthrie has won Spencer County by a 1,200 vote margin – here are the results – 
Candidate Party Votes Overall % Overall Percent
S. Brett Guthrie R 4,490 57.7% 57.7% percent of the vote
David E. Boswell D 3,290 42.3% 42.3% percent of the vote
Update, 8:05 p.m. 
Boswell has won Ohio county with a 55 percent to 45 percent victory. 
Candidate Party Votes Overall % Overall Percent
David E. Boswell D 2,453 54.6% 54.6% percent of the vote
S. Brett Guthrie R 2,040 45.4% 45.4% percent of the vote
Although Guthrie has run out to a 55 to 45 lead, Daviess, Hardin and Bullitt counties still haven’t been tallied. 
Guthrie has picked up Edmonson County – 
Candidate Party Votes Overall % Overall Percent
S. Brett Guthrie R 3,358 66.0% 66.0% percent of the vote
David E. Boswell D 1,732 34.0% 34.0% percent of the vote
Update, 8:10 p.m. 
Guthrie has won Hardin County, and Boswell does not appear to be winning Daviess County by a large enough margin to offset Guthrie’s win there and his convincing lead in Warren County. 
Here are the Hardin County results – 
Candidate Party Votes Overall % Overall Percent
S. Brett Guthrie R 20,875 53.6% 53.6% percent of the vote
David E. Boswell D 18,087 46.4% 46.4% percent of the vote
Update, 8:20 p.m. 
Guthrie has won Hart County – 
Candidate Party Votes Overall % Overall Percent
S. Brett Guthrie R 3,423 53.5% 53.5% percent of the vote
David E. Boswell D 2,979 46.5% 46.5% percent of the vote
Update, 8:41 p.m. 
Guthrie has also picked up Grayson County – 
Candidate Party Votes Overall % Overall Percent
S. Brett Guthrie R 6,118 63.3% 63.3% percent of the vote
David E. Boswell D 3,549 36.7% 36.7% percent of the vote

Guthrie takes another county – Breckinridge County – 

Candidate Party Votes Overall % Overall Percent
S. Brett Guthrie R 4,296 51.5% 51.5% percent of the vote
David E. Boswell D 4,043 48.5% 48.5% percent of the vote


CNN, Associated Press call Kentucky for McCain

CNN and the Associated press have already predicted a win for Republican John McCain in Kentucky as the vote just begins to be counted. 

As of 6:30 p.m. CST, the state Board of Elections had just over 15 percent of precincts reporting in the state and showed McCain ahead of Democrat Barack Obama by 57 percent to 41 percent. 

Here’s the AP’s Roger Alford with the story – 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) _ Republican U.S. Sen. John McCain has won Kentucky and collected eight electoral votes in a state that has picked the overall winner in presidential races dating back to 1964.

The call was based on an analysis of voter interviews conducted for The Associated Press by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International.

Continue reading

Tales from the polls in Owensboro

I went to the Sportscenter to cast my vote this morning about 6:30 a.m., and had to only wait a few minutes in line. 

That’s certainly the earliest I’ve headed out to vote, but wanted to make sure I had time for any lines I might find.

While I was in and out quickly, that wasn’t the case for the 27th precinct, where the line was about 30 deep. Other precincts at the Sportscenter showed much shorter lines, but on the whole the crowd was much larger than it had been in the spring and in the four years I’ve been in Owensboro. 

What else are folks seeing out there? Feel free to chime in with comments.

Update, 9 a.m.

Daviess County Clerk David “Oz” Osborne said that things have gone relatively smoothly this morning at voting sites. 

A power surge knocked out several machines in one location, but those machines were up and running again without much delay, Osborne said. 

Turnout has been up this morning based on what poll workers have said, Osborne said. 

“Every precinct that we’ve been to this morning have all said they’ve had lines, which is great,” Osborne said. “Most places right now are flowing right along.”

Osborne said Election Day is kind of like flying an airplane – the take-off and the landing are the hardest parts.

Update, 1:45 p.m. 

At some Daviess County precincts, turnout has already topped 50 percent and Osborne said there are waits at some polling places of between 25 and 30 minutes. 

“My workers that are out there in the field are still saying htere are lines,” Osborne said. “I think it’s going to be a record-breaker. I think it’s going to go above 72 percent.”

Update, 4:15 p.m.

The staff of the Daviess County Clerk’s office is typically finished counting how many absentee ballots the office has received by just after lunch on Election Day, Osborne said. 

But after 4 p.m., the staff was still counting and had received more than 2,000 by mail along with 1,840 absentee ballots that had already been cast in the clerk’s office leading up to today, Osborne said. 

Typically, the clerk’s office receives about 200 to 300 absentee ballots, he said. 

Out in the county, several precincts had already seen more than 800 voters, well above the 300 voters a typical precinct sees on Election Day, Osborne said. 

“They’ve taken a real interest in this election because of the issues concerning us,” Osborne said.

According to the Kentucky State Board of Elections, Daviess County had its highest turnout during the last 26 years in 1992, when 78.6 percent of the county’s voters went to the polls. That year, the state saw 73.2 percent turnout.

Voters sound off about presidential choices at SayHear.org

The attention tonight once the polls close will be on what voters are saying when they cast their ballots for who should be the next President of the United States. 

SayHear.org is a project providing even more of a voice to those voters by allowing them to call in and record a message explaining their choice for president. 

The SayHear project gives voters, and non-voters, four telephone numbers they can call based on who they are voting for – Barack Obama, John McCain, a third party candidate or not voting – and record a message explaining their choice. 

Those messages are posted online to give folks a listen to how and why people are casting their votes today. 

Here’s a sample of recordings from a McCain supporter, an Obama supporter and a non-voter

Check it out.

Some looking to Kentucky to see how election goes for Republicans

Roll Call has a look at some of the key races tonight, and lists Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race between Republican leader Mitch McConnell and Democrat Bruce Lunsford along with Kentucky’s 2nd District race as two early indicators of how the night might go for Republicans. 

Here’s reporter Nathan Gonzales’s take on the 2nd District race where Democrat David Boswell is facing Republican Brett Guthrie for the seat held by Ron Lewis, a Cecilia Republican. 

Republicans are trying to hold onto 20 competitive open seats, including this district. In comparison, Democrats only have one vulnerable open seat (Alabama’s 5th). State Sen. Brett Guthrie (R) is battling state Sen. David Boswell (D) in a district that President Bush carried with 65 percent in 2004. This race could be an indication of whether conservative Democrats are voting Republican like they have recently. A wide discrepancy in polling makes predicting the outcome difficult, but this early contest is a must-win for Republicans.

And Chris Cillizza with The Washington Post is also listing the KY-2 as an early indicator for the results tonight. 

Here’s Cillizza’s take – 

When Republican Rep. Ron Lewis (R) announced his retirement from this strongly conservative west-central Kentucky district, few national political observers paid much attention. But, Democrats have poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into the race and polling suggests state Sens. Brett Guthrie (R) and David Boswell (D) are in a dead heat. If Democrats win this district, it is going to be a VERY long night for House Republicans.

This all seems somewhat fitting, given the role 14 years ago of the Kentucky 2nd when Lewis was first elected to fill the seat vacated by the long-serving Democrat William Natcher.

Lewis’s first win in the conservative-leaning district that year is considered as one of the first of the “Republican Revolution” that year that saw the GOP with major gains in Congress.

Politico.com is the latest to call the KY 2nd a bellweather – here’s the take from reporter John Kraushaar – 

This rural western Kentucky seat is the most Republican in the Bluegrass State, but Democrats nominated a socially conservative candidate who fits the district well. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s operation has been strong in this part of the state, and could help Guthrie. If Guthrie loses, expect a long night for Republicans.