In an op-ed in the Lexington, Ky., Herald-Leader of 27 November, former newspaperman Al Smith attempted to explain why democrat Representative Martha Jane King of Logan County was defeated in the recent election, citing the usual things like being outspent (those evil Koch brothers and their Pacs) and spurious advertising showing her pictured with Hillary Clinton and blaming her for favoring most anything like abortion and same-sex marriages, things that rile a lot of folks and not just in Logan County.
I don’t know how King feels about those or other subjects but I also don’t believe that sort of opposition ended her incumbency. Courthouses in Kentucky and most state officials are still democrat, but the legislature and governorship have changed drastically, especially the House, which was not just overturned but turned upside-down (64-36, veto-proof) and made republican-run for the first time in nearly a hundred years. The Senate has been republican for a long time.
King became the victim of “Trumpism,” and it didn’t help her chances that Clinton’s abundantly transparent CQ (corruption-quota), with Trump using the term “Crooked Hillary” to good advantage, was divulged gradually all through the campaign. Democrats were thrown out of state legislatures nationwide. Guilt by association is a killer. Nationally, Clinton had avowed to continue Obama's tortured management, so the vote was also a referendum on the president.
King lost her seat by a two-to-one margin, a landslide, just as Clinton lost the electoral college by a landslide 306-232. Apparently, only one county out of 120 Kentucky counties (Jefferson) voted for Clinton. In national elections, Kentucky has voted republican for years, at least tolerating the often-crooked democrat courthouse corruption, but trusting national issues only to republicans. Just one Kentucky member of Congress (from Jefferson County) is a democrat. Nationally, only four states between the west coast democrat-cabal and the Northeast coast-cabal voted Trump, i.e., “flyover country,” where most of Hillary’s “deplorables” live. The entire Southeast went for Trump.
While Smith’s explanation for King’s defeat was flawed, he shed some light on the tolerated corruption of Kentucky politics, reminiscing about the days when “Doc” Beauchamp ran the state. He might have mentioned that highway contractors sort of did, also. Indeed, in recent memory, one can testify to the shenanigans and investigations/surveillances of former democrat governors and their administrations, as well as the legislatures.
Reaching back to the 70s, Governor (later Senator) Wendell Ford was indicted by a Grand Jury concerning an insurance scheme. His successor, Julian Carroll, was investigated by a Grand Jury in an insurance scam, after which his protege, Sonny Hunt, also a legislator as well as state democrat party chairman was convicted and did serious time. Carroll was under yet another federal investigation when he left office in 1979.
Carroll's successor, John Y. Brown, was investigated by a federal Grand Jury concerning a $1.3 million withdrawal from a bank (to pay gambling debts...maybe?) and was under surveillance concerning drug-trafficking, a cocaine-drug-smuggling ring operating in Lexington at the time. Governor Martha Layne Collins ran into a conflict of interest brouhaha over the gift of a $35,000 piano, whilst hubby Bill was convicted of extorting $1.1 million accruing to contributions from state contractors.
Her successor, Wallace Wilkinson, was investigated over numerous charges (remember the book sales) and a $418 million bankruptcy case. His successor, Brerton Jones, received illegally large contributions to his campaign from National Guard officers, who were later promoted or given government appointments, while the adjutant-general went to jail for 18 months or so. Jones's successor, Paul Patton, suffered a sexual harassment lawsuit by a woman with whom he had an affair and experienced both FBI and Ethics Commission probes.
More than a dozen legislators were convicted in the early 90s via an FBI sting (selling votes...remember BOPTROT-HUMANA) and the longest-serving House Speaker up to then, Don Blandford, was given 64 months in the Pen.
Yeah, politics are the damnedest in Kentucky. Al Smith knows and covered it.
And so it goes.