Its Election Day Kentucky! Your chance to head out to the polls and make your voice heard. Assuming you wake up in time to go in before work and can remember where you are registered (I seem to have this trouble every year), today is the day for you to “fight the powers that be” and stand up for your principles in a way thats effectiveness is only rivaled by calling someone names in the comment section of a sports blog. It is America at its finest and I hope you participate.
Earlier today, we broke down the GOP race in a 1400 word column that I thought was some of my best work and was quickly dismissed by some readers who took a moment to look up from the newest episode of “Maury” to tell me I was “ill-informed, naive and a communist.” However now its later at night, I am tired and the thought of another mega-piece seems like to much to bear. So instead, we will dissect the Daniel Mongiardo vs Jack Conway race in a quick and easy manner. First the candidates:
In case you didnt know, Daniel Mongiardo is your Lt. Governor, meaning his job is to get up every day and check to see if Steve Beshear has survived his “bench pressing the bar” workout session from the night before. Mongiardo is a former Doctor from Perry County, which allows him to dress up in ridiculous “scrubs” in his campaign commercials, showcasing that if a bout of bird flu were to break out while he was in Washington, Mongiardo would be the man to have on our side. Lt Dan (we use this shorthand phrase thanks to the character in “Forrest Gump”, played by Gary Sinise who was actually much cooler than Mongiardo, but hasnt as of yet been on a KSR podcast) rose to prominence when he actually ran for this seat six years ago, losing narrowly to a growingly senile Jim Bunning. In that race, Bunning hit a new low in Kentucky politics, starting a whisper campaign about Mongiardo’s personal life and claiming he looked like Saddam Hussein’s sons. As Bunning became crazier by the day, the previously unknown Mongiardo nearly pulled off the upset and parlayed that spot into the Lt Governor’s position. Now Lt Dan is back running for Senate again, this time as a superhero known to children in all the comic books as “Mr Coal!” Mongiardo has taken to casting himself as the defender of Kentucky’s most abundant resource, featuring it in nearly all of his commercials, criticizing Conway for supporting “cap and trade” (which is also incidentally what Terrence Jones called his press conference) and offering free coal-flavored snow cones to all of the Commonwealth’s school children on Fridays (ok I made that one up). He is running as a “Republican Lite” candidate (“tastes great, less liberal!”) and is seeking to win on the “Blue Dog Democrat” platform of “if you like Republican’s views but dont like how old and cranky they are, pick us!” For most of the campaign, it has worked and he is the slight front runner.
His opponent is Jack Conway, Kentucky’s Attorney General and official “politician who has been the subject of two of Matt Jones’s old girl friends’ desires .” (I used to hold this against Conway, but after one of the girls thought that he being Attorney General meant he was in the military, I decide she wasnt for me anyway). Conway is best known for his near defeat of Anne Northup in a Congressional race and for being a dead-on ringer of the DA in “Batman Forever.” His campaign has gained traction from those on the left side of the political aisle in Kentucky and he is the supported candidate of most of the young Democrats in Kentucky and some of the old-guard including former Senator Wendell Ford. He has been criticized for being vague on policy, and by vague I mean in the “we dont really know what he thinks about most issues, but damn he looks like a Senator” type of way. His campaign floundered early in the race until a horse owned by he and his dad won the Bluegrass Stakes and made the Kentucky Derby field. Like that horse (Stately Victor, named after Conway’s childhood friend who tragically died at the age of 23), Conway has made a bit of a comeback and he is now neck and neck going into election day. He is the candidate of the “city folk”, and is expected to do very well in Louisville, Lexington and Northern Kentucky. His commercials and advertising have been horrid (lesson to ad agencies…dont make me look at closeups of pigs when I am eating dinner), but he hasnt done anything embarassing and has dealt with the Mongiardo staff’s whisper campaigns against him with class. He is the least defined of the candidates in the race, but as my old Fraternity used to prove come bid vote…sometimes the less you know about a person the better.
This has been a fairly underwhelming race to be honest. There is still no Democrat in the state who will truly stand up and be proud of their votes and most believe they must run from their record to win (I dont believe that by the way and one day will run…and lose…wearing my issues on my sleeve). But our pick goes to Conway, who has more potential to do good things in his (admittedly) undefined career. With Mongiardo, we know what we have….a guy who loves coal, looks like he could be a cast member on a Broadway show, cant get along with the Governor and would be a Republican in most other states. With Conway, you know you have a guy who generally agrees with me on the issues (if and when he shows a backbone), will look the part, gets along with the other side (important to me), is somewhat conservative on spending issues and maybe, will help advance Kentucky’s interests in Washington. And if not, he could still potentially get the Warner studio executives to film the next Batman movie in Carter County. Conway it is.
And with that, time for the sports news
(1): This actually quite a busy news day, but it began with an old story. The Calipari to the NBA rumors wont die, this time packaged in a “World Wide Wes is brokering a Lebron-Cal deal” type story. The Chicago Tribune published the story, but ESPN spent all day trying to verify it and came up empty. World Wide Wes did three interviews, two of which saw him deny the story and then the one with Rick Bozich of the Courier Journal found him saying “no comment.” The topic every where you go right now is Calipari and his future with UK and I will repeat what I have said every time I have been asked. NO ONE except Calipari and his family really know whether he has interest in the NBA this year. But we do KNOW that Calipari has stated UNEQUIVOCALLY that he will be back next year. Unless you just want to assume that statement is a lie, which I wont do without further proof, I think we just have to take it at face value. The rumors will continue, but for now, I dont buy them.
(2): The most surprising news of the day was the Larry Vaught report that Darnell Dodson would be returning to Kentucky next season. His Miami-Dade coach says Dodson will be back and part of the team next year. This is quite a reversal from the situation just a couple of months ago. For a variety of reasons (it wasnt just one), Dodson had been presumed to no longer be on the team and if you spoke with anyone around the program, Dodson was not thought to be a team member. National media members who spoke with Calipari about the team all did stories in which they characterized Dodson as likely not on the team, and I heard no one who thought he would be back. But now it looks as if he will be, marking a stark change. My hope is that Darnell has everything in gear and shows the promise that he came with last season. If so, he can be a useful addition.
(3): The most under-reported story of the week in Kentucky is the lawsuit involving Tubby Smith going on in Minnesota. For those of you that havent followed it, Tubby was sued by an Assistant Coach who says Tubby promised him a job, causing him to quit a prior job, only to later pull the offer. The trial is going on right now and today one of the witnesses called was former UK Coach Eddie Sutton. As this fascinating article in the Minnesota Star-Tribune recounts, Sutton was on the stand and got very upset at Tubby’s lawyer for bringing up his NCAA violations at Kentucky. He claimed that the NCAA had trapped Sutton while he was there and he became angry, asking the judge if he could ask Tubby’s lawyer questions. The article reads like Sutton was losing it and nearly became so agitated that he told the judge that when he got the NCAA violations, he was doing it to be #wrongonpurpose. It is quite a read and a story to definitely follow.
(4): UTEP transfer Arnett Moultrie is considering Kentucky and will choose between the Cats and Texas. For those of you not familiar with Moultrie, he is a potential stud who declared for the NBA Draft, but then pulled his name out and decided to transfer. He is a kid who can really play and has an NBA body and pro potential if he harnesses his skills. Kentucky is likely to get a visit in the near future and if they can add him, he would make the 2011 class even stronger than what it is currently projected to be. Everything about this kid says potential future star and if Calipari makes this happen, it could help us forgive UTEP for the whole Billy Clyde thing.
(5): Finally some football news. UK football recieved the commitment of Two Wide Receivers today, helping give Joker the athletes he needs to get it done in the SEC. The first is Darien Thomas, a potential stud, who is 6’3″, 200 pounds and very quick. He was getting looks from all of the SEC, but Kentucky was the first SEC school to offer and with Joker’s track record on such scouting, I think this 3 star is a GREAT pickup. The other kid is more of a project, but an in-state project. Josh Forrest of Paduch Tilghman has only been play football for one year, but in that year, he turned heads everywhere. He plays WR and Defensive back and in the state playoffs, had three interceptions in one game and became a statewide story. He was best known for basketball in high school, but wants to play big time football on the next level and picked UK for that reason. Both kids add speed to the roster and fit in Joker’s gameplan. I am sure he is excited about both.
So that was only 1800 words…see we try to do things quickly. Go vote, no matter who your pick and stay tuned as the events of the day progress. It wouldnt surprise me at all if Terrence Jones news comes today…so be ready.