There’s not much more candidates for governor can do just two days before the election. They’ve made their cases; attached their opponents; and two of the three have run their negative television ads.
Now, it’s up to which one gets the most of their supporters to the polls Tuesday in what is expected to be a low-turnout election.
“The real important work from this point forward is not what the candidates do,” Republican David Williams told a small but enthusiastic crowd at party headquarters here Saturday. “It’s what you do. It’s going around knocking on doors and making phone calls and telling people that we have an entire ticket that’s pro-life, that we have an entire ticket that has a real plan for real jobs.”
Polls show Williams and independent candidate Gatewood Galbraith far behind incumbent Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear.
The latest Bluegrass Poll, conducted by SurveyUSA for The Courier-Journal and WHAS-TV, showed Beshear leading 54 to Williams’ 29 and Galbraith’s 9 percent with 8 percent undecided. Both Williams and Galbraith, however, say in a low-turnout, getting their voters to the polls can make those polls meaningless. Beshear reminds supporters not to become complacent, saying he wants to beat Williams by a wide margin and sweep the entire Democratic ticket into office.
Williams was accompanied Saturday by Republican candidates for treasurer, K.C. Crosbie; auditor, John Kemper; and attorney general, Todd P’Pool. The Republicans started out in northern Kentucky, often a Republican stronghold, before stopping in Lexington on their way to Danville and later Bowling Green.
Williams said Boone County Judge/Executive Gary Moore had told him earlier Saturday that “every door he knocked on up there is enthusiastic. Don’t pay any attention to those polls. We’re going to have a great victory in northern Kentucky.”
Crosbie, a member of the Fayette County Urban Government Council, told the crowd that “the only poll that matters is the one when the polls close” on Election Day. But Crosbie was more enthusiastic about Republican Party of Kentucky polling which she claims shows her race against incumbent Democratic treasurer Todd Hollenbach “is a dead heat.” Most public polls have shown Hollenbach with a double-digit lead – but those were conducted before both candidates began advertising on television.
Unlike a swing through southeastern Kentucky earlier in the week, Williams made no mention of the controversy about his criticism of Beshear’s participation in a Hindu “ground blessing” ceremony at the site of an Indian-owned manufacturing facility in Elizabethtown – at least until reporters began questioning him about it.
Williams said he has assured a national Hindu organization he intended no offense to Hindus but that he questioned Beshear’s participation in a religious ceremony after he took “politically correct” positions on church-state issues. He said he was not criticizing Hindus or any other religion, only practicing his Christian faith.
Williams was asked if the timing of his comments, near the end of the campaign, and willingly talking about it at stops in some heavily Republican southeastern Kentucky counties might be more an effort to fire up his base and get those voters to the polls Tuesday.
“That has nothing to do with it,” Williams said.
P’Pool and Kemper told the group that electing the Republican ticket is a first step in “standing up to Obama” and protecting Kentucky’s coal industry. P’Pool accused his opponent, incumbent Democrat Jack Conway, of interfering in a Louisville Police Department investigation of his brother, a charge Conway has repeatedly denied. He also said Conway and “Frankfort insiders are real nervous about my race.” Earlier public polling showed Conway with a substantial lead.
Kemper called Beshear “Barack Obama Jr.” and the room of Republicans – boosted by College Republicans from Eastern Kentucky University and Berea College who were making phone bank calls – cheered when P’Pool promised to oppose “Obamacare.”
Williams’ wife, Robyn, also appealed to the group to get voters to the polls.
“Tell them who to vote for and why,” she said, because voters “have a false sense of security right now that everything’s OK because Gov. Beshear is willing to lie to them and tell them everything is OK, and it’s not.”