Lunsford to Challenge McConnell

Posted May 20, 2008 at 7:06pm

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) earned her second strong but likely meaningless victory over Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) on Tuesday in Kentucky. The Louisville Courier Journal called the race for Clinton with just 36 percent reporting Tuesday night. At that time, Clinton had 55 percent of the vote to Obama’s 42 percent. Political pundits had been predicting that Kentucky, with a demographic that played well to Clinton’s base, would be an easy win for the New York Senator. The seven-way Kentucky Senate Democratic primary race also offered little surprise on Tuesday. With 89 percent of precincts reporting, the Courier Journal called the race for health care executive Bruce Lunsford, who had 51 percent of the vote. Lunsford, who was the candidate of the party establishment, had led in polling throughout the primary. His top rival, wealthy businessman Greg Fischer, had steadily increased his name ID this spring but was never able to pull within striking distance of Lunsford despite going negative in recent weeks. Lunsford will now face Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R), who won his own primary Tuesday against a token challenger, in the general election. Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.) released a statement Tuesday evening praising Lunsford’s victory. “Kentuckians who want to change the direction the country is headed in will have a chance to do so in November by electing Bruce Lunsford,” Schumer said. “Republicans in Washington have obstructed change in our foreign and economic policies for too long, and by electing Bruce Lunsford, Kentucky can reject that obstructionism and move the country forward.” In the state’s lone competitive House primary, state Sen. David Boswell (D) beat Daviess County Judge/Executive Reid Haire (D) in the central Kentucky 2nd district. Boswell’s victory likely came on the back of his high name recognition in the district after 18 years in the state Senate. He also previously served as state Agricultural commissioner and had been known to have his eye on the Congressional seat for some time. Boswell will now face Republican state Sen. Brett Guthrie in the general election. In other Kentucky House news, former Rep. Anne Northup (R ) easily won her primary in the 3rd district, setting up a rematch with the man who defeated her in 2006, now-Rep. John Yarmuth (D). — John McArdle