Now It’s Time For Real Politics

The 2011 primary election has finally come and gone, with no real surprises. save for the totally unexpected strength of GOP gubernatorial candidate Phil Moffett. The choice of Kentucky Tea Partiers, Moffett was extremely strong in losing to Senate President David Williams. So strong that he beat Williams in Fayette and Jefferson counties-only the two largest population centers in the commonwealth. That begs this question. Will Moffett support and endorse Williams, and what will that endorsement cost the Burkesville strongman?

Moffett has said he would endorse the winner of the primary, but would not promise his tea party folks would do the same, and that could be a huge problem for Williams in his general election fight against incumbent Steve Beshear. For his part, Williams has made some attempts to court tea partiers in the recent past, by endorsing, and heavily campaigning for Rand Paul last year, and announcing several times that he was himself a tea party backer. But Moffett painted Williams as a career politician who helped create Kentucky’s current budget shortfall. Moffett was vastly underfunded, but ran a grass-roots effort using social media and a serious ground game, while not using tv at all, and radio only during the final weeks of the primary battle.

The question for Williams is now clear. How much does he need Moffett’s supporters, and what will it cost him politically? The answer is obvious. He needs all the help he can get, so keeping those folks under the GOP tent is an extremely high priority. What will it take to get them? It’s not totally clear, but Williams will likely have to change or revise his position on one or more issues to satisfy some Moffett voters. Whether it’s his education stance, or his position on taxes, the Senate President may have to make some major concessions to bring those voters into the fold come November. It will also be interesting to see whether Moffett will campaign for Williams which could go a long way toward mending fences in the Kentucky GOP.