MEMO: The State of the Kentucky Gubernatorial Race 1-Month Out
Posted October 05, 2015
October 5, 2015
TO: Interested Parties
FR: David Bergstein, KDP Communications
RE: The State of the Kentucky Gubernatorial Race 1-Month Out
One month before Election Day three factors are dragging down Matt Bevin at the worst possible time: damaging revelations, his chronic dishonesty and his unhinged, erratic behavior.
Despite a challenging climate for Democrats and a multi-million dollar advertising campaign against Attorney General Jack Conway, the latest public polling shows Bevin losing the governor’s race by 5-points. In a shocking move, even the Republican Governors Association has abandoned him for the time being. One national analyst wrote that “Bevin is in real danger of blowing this race.”
With roughly 30 days to go, here’s the state of Kentucky’s gubernatorial race:
BEVIN HAMSTRUNG BY DAMAGING REVELATIONS.
Throughout the summer and fall, Bevin’s campaign has been buffeted by damaging revelations, sharply underscoring his inherent dishonesty.
In June, the Associated Press reported that Bevin failed to disclose controversial companies on required state documents – a “possible ethics violation.” That scandal was revived last week when CN2 reported that Bevin suspiciously filed an updated disclosure form one day before the Ethics Commission met.
The Courier-Journal has also documented numerous examples of Bevin’s financial hypocrisy – enriching himself through investments in Common Core and gambling companies while claiming to oppose Common Core and gambling during his campaign.
Bevin’s private sector past has also proved problematic for him. The State Journal wrote that Bevin’s pension record was “less than stellar” – losing money for retirees while charging “above-average fees.” And BuzzFeed revealed that Bevin’s company was found guilty of multiple OSHA violations that risked worker amputations.
But no issue has caused more problems for Bevin than his lies about his failure to pay his taxes. WAVE 3 NBC reported that Bevin failed to pay his property taxes at least 10 times, and that his company was a serial property tax delinquent. And Bevin is still breaking Kentucky’s long and bipartisan tradition by hiding his tax returns – in defiance of nearly 70 percent of Kentucky voters who think he should release them now.
ON THE ISSUES, BEVIN LYING ABOUT HIS POSITIONS.
Republican John David Dyche wrote that Bevin has been “wildly inconsistent” and that he’s “repeatedly said something, denied that he said that, then said something completely different.”
Similarly, The Lexington Herald-Leader’s Sam Youngman wrote that on “issue after issue, Bevin is reversing himself and blaming the media for mistaking straight-aways for u-turns…Bevin has been all over the map on health care, early childhood education, public-private partnerships for infrastructure, and his rocky past with Mitch McConnell. And that's not even a comprehensive list.”
His answers about healthcare and early childhood education have been torturous contortions, highlighting that Bevin is refusing to tell the truth about where he stands. But there can be no denying what Bevin said on camera and in print: he said he would reverse the Medicaid expansion immediately; wrote that he would “repeal” the healthcare program; and said that early childhood education “serves no purpose.” The last point may be especially problematic for Bevin: in the latest Bluegrass Poll only 13 percent of Kentuckians agreed with Bevin’s stance on this issue.
BEVIN’S ERRATIC BEHAVIOR ALIENATING REPUBLICANS.
Bevin’s short fuse and erratic behavior are well documented. He’s repeatedly warred with journalists, snapping and snarling while refusing to answer questions. His strange address attacking the tradition of Fancy Farm was described as “confusing, contradictory and likely ill-advised.” But as his campaign collapses, Bevin’s unhinged behavior seems to be escalating.
In 1 month, Bevin has twice stopped by the Kentucky Democratic Party Headquarters with complaints about a billboard. Meanwhile, his astounding refusal to endorse Sen. Rand Paul’s Presidential campaign has triggered a “Civil War” within the Kentucky Republican Party.
Republicans have reached a breaking point. Congressman Hal Rogers declined to attend a Bevin rally he was slated to appear at. The former chairman of the Jefferson County Republican Party stated that Bevin’s behavior was “very disturbing.” And another Kentucky GOP insider said that Bevin was “unbelievably incompetent.”
CONWAY ENTERING FINAL WEEKS IN STRONG POSITION.
As Bevin implodes, Conway is entering the final weeks of the campaign strongly positioned for victory.
Conway is delivering a clear message focused on job creation, improving education and making government do more with less – backed up by his record of accomplishments as Attorney General. On the airwaves and in the press, his campaign is dominating the conversation. And on the ground, Kentucky Democrats are preparing for one of the strongest GOTV efforts ever seen in a Kentucky gubernatorial race.
Jack Conway and Sannie Overly have proven they understand Kentucky, they’ve delivered for Kentucky, and they have a plan to move Kentucky forward. As Bevin's campaign remains crippled by his fundamental failings, Jack Conway is entering the final 30 days with momentum on his side.