Wednesday, November 05, 2014

After last night's loss, what's next for the Lundergans?

Alison Lundergan Grimes was banking on the fact that she's not Mitch McConnell to carry her to victory in the just-concluded U.S. Senate race.

She found out, in decisive fashion that exceeded even the most optimistic Republican's wildest dreams, that it wasn't.

She failed to convince the electorate that she had anything better to offer them than the five-term Republican incumbent.

So, what's next for the daughter of notorious Democrat leader (and proven corrupt politician) Jerry Lundergan?

We've heard from a number of separate and varied sources that she is contemplating running for governor next year. No doubt that would really please Jerry Lundergan. We can see him drooling all over himself at the prospect of being able to hand out state jobs and big fat contracts to supporters as the de facto governor in an Alison Lundergan Grimes administration. We wouldn't be at all surprised if the Lundergan machine hadn't really planned all along to use this year's Senate race as a warmup for a run at the Governor's Mansion next year.

But the question we have is, would she do such a thing so soon after she enjoyed Jack Conway's support for her just-ended campaign? The Lundergans and Steve Beshear have had a well-publicized feud for years, but they temporarily buried that hatchet for the Senate election. So far, Conway is the only Democrat who's announced plans to run for governor, and it's believed that Beshear will support him in his race, whether or not he draws any opposition. Alison's campaign enjoyed unified support from Kentucky Democrats, with Conway playing a leading role. Would Lundergan Grimes slap Conway in the face so soon after enjoying his support?

The Republicans' failure to gain any ground in taking control of the state House of Representatives is sure to embolden any thoughts Greg Stumbo may have about running for governor, and so far he's been noncommittal when asked about the prospects in the aftermath of yesterday's election. It would be highly unusual for the Democrats not to put up a spirited fight for the gubernatorial nomination, but any challengers to Conway need to emerge quickly. He's already been consolidating support within the party even as the two announced Republican candidates, Jamie Comer and Hal Heiner, work to raise money and build name recognition.

So, if Lundergan Grimes chooses not to challenge Conway, what will she do next year? Will she run for re-election as secretary of state? Will she instead choose to run for the attorney general's office that Conway will be vacating? And will she try again for the U.S. Senate in two years, when Rand Paul may be on the ballot both for re-election to his seat and as a candidate for president?

We wouldn't be a bit surprised if she doesn't rub Conway's nose in it and goes for governor next year. Her father craves power, and he could certainly wield it as his daughter's top advisor. if she did get elected, we have no doubt who'd really be making all the decisions.

While no one will confuse us for Mitch McConnell fans, we are certainly happy that the Lundergan offspring didn't emerge victorious last night. Her family's ways are the major reason Kentucky lags behind in so many vital categories. It's not business as usual in the Bluegrass State anymore. Old-style political shenanigans as practiced by Jerry Lundergan are no longer how things get done here. We've moved beyond that type of corruption.

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