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Alice Kerr Lost KY Battle on Her Own Turf
Lexington, KY, Herald-Leader ^ | 02-22-04 | Alessi, Ryan

Posted on 02/22/2004 7:01:44 AM PST by Theodore R.

Kerr lost battle on her own turf

By Ryan Alessi

HERALD-LEADER FRANKFORT BUREAU

In her 12-point loss in last week's special congressional election, Republican Alice Forgy Kerr was failed by some of the voters who knew her best.

Kerr, a state senator from Lexington, lost to Democrat Ben Chandler by an unexpectedly wide 55 percent to 43 percent margin in Tuesday's election to fill the 6th Congressional district seat.

Political analysts have offered a host of theories why Chandler, a former attorney general, won so convincingly, including the high, 35 percent, voter turnout, which by tradition favors Democrats, and his widespread name recognition.

But a close look at some of the voting results shows that Kerr slipped in territory where she, too, is well known.

She failed to carry her own senate district, which covers nearly half of Fayette County. And one of the two counties out of the 16 in the district where registered Republicans outnumber Democrats also went to Chandler.

Kerr did win Jessamine County, where Democrats outnumber GOP voters.

There's rarely a single reason for a political outcome, said Fayette County Clerk Don Blevins, a Democrat who has overseen elections for more than 22 years. "Usually, it's a combination of factors," he said.

"All elections are candidate-driven, either for or against," so a lot depends on the matchup.

The last time Kerr's name was on the ballot in her southern Fayette district, in November 2002, she was re-elected to the state senate over former University of Kentucky basketball player Derrick Hord, 18,276 votes to 13,610.

On that same turf Tuesday, Chandler topped Kerr by 202 votes. Worse, she attracted only 12,784 votes -- 30 percent less than in 2002.

Kerr was facing a tougher opponent in Tuesday's race than in 2002, said Joe Gershtenson, director of the Center for History and Politics at Eastern Kentucky University.

But "it's clear that some of her support either didn't show up or actually changed over to the other side," he said.

Democrats say they specifically tried to win in Kerr's back yard -- using a carefully targeted door-to-door effort.

On the books, Democrats outnumber Republicans in the neighborhoods she represents, 33,709 to 27,785, but they tend to vote Republican.

Over the 10-week campaign, the Democrats courted voters in that area more aggressively than in any race in recent history, said Carol Angel, who has run nine countywide campaigns in the last six years. She helped coordinate the voter-targeting effort for Chandler.

"We actually had people call the office and say, 'Thank you for sending someone to knock on my door and tell me to vote for a Democrat for a change'," Angel said.

"Never until this time have I actually had the resources and the amount of people to go door to door there," she said.

The Washington-based Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which spent more than $1.4 million on behalf of Chandler, paid for computer systems to map the district down to individual homes.

The group organized a 450-person army of volunteers who over the last few days of the campaign reminded Democratic voters to go to the polls.

They knew exactly where to go because early in the race, volunteers had canvassed the homes of registered Democrats.

They asked residents two questions: would they vote for President Bush or someone else in the fall? And would they vote for Chandler or Kerr?

"There were a lot of people there who said they supported Bush but said they would vote for Chandler. That really surprised us," she said.

So even though those residents had identified themselves with Bush -- as Kerr did in her campaign -- they got a second doorstep visit just before Election Day.

Kentucky Republican Party chairman Ellen Williams discounts all that Democratic planning. Chandler's win over Kerr in her own senate district means only that "more voters knew who he was," she said. "He was virtually an incumbent."

As for Kerr, "I would say a lot of people didn't know they were her constituents," Williams said.

Overall in the 6th district, Kerr only won two counties: Garrard, which has more Republicans than Democrats, and Jessamine. She lost Estill County, where Republicans have 1,000 more voters on the books than Democrats.

Williams said party registrations can be deceptive in Kentucky. "Voters in this state are pretty independent. Even Republican voters are independent minded," she said. "I think people vote for the person."

Ted Jackson, a Republican political consultant from Louisville, offered another possible cause of Kerr's loss: Kentuckians in both parties don't want one party to dominate.

Many voters might have decided that is was time to elect a Democrat, he said, because Republican Ernie Fletcher had just defeated Chandler in the governor's race and most of the state's congressional delegation is already Republican.

"There is still, on some level, this desire to have balance," he said. "With the tremendous victory that Ernie Fletcher had, there may have been a natural urge to pull back and go the other way."

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Reach Ryan Alessi at (859) 231-1303, 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 1303, or ralessi@herald-leader.com.


TOPICS: Politics/Elections; US: Kentucky
KEYWORDS: aliceforgykerr; chandler; congress; democrat; dist6; electionushouse; estillco; fayetteco; garrardco; jessamineco; kerr; ky; lexington; republican
"Voters in this state are pretty independent. Even Republican voters are independent minded,"

Notice that it was assumed that Democrats are "independent," but here "even" Republican voters are independent-minded.

1 posted on 02/22/2004 7:01:45 AM PST by Theodore R.
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Comment #2 Removed by Moderator

To: aCDNinUSA; AFMobster; anoldafvet; Apache48; aposiopetic; April19; asformeandformyhouse; ...
How will Jim Bunning fare next election? How about Mitch? Seems they did not stump much for her, sort of set her up to sacrifice to the dems on this one. As soon as she looked to be in trouble they both distanced themselves even more, or so it seemed.
3 posted on 02/22/2004 7:09:58 AM PST by SLB ("We must lay before Him what is in us, not what ought to be in us." C. S. Lewis)
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To: William Creel
Who's Buford
4 posted on 02/22/2004 7:21:25 AM PST by rushmom
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To: SLB
It does make you wonder what the heck is going on.
5 posted on 02/22/2004 7:22:04 AM PST by rushmom
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Comment #6 Removed by Moderator

To: William Creel
So Kerr is not running again?
7 posted on 02/22/2004 7:28:16 AM PST by rushmom
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Comment #8 Removed by Moderator

To: William Creel
Good luck to Mr. Buford. I hope he gets the kind of organization that the Democrats gave chandler.
9 posted on 02/22/2004 7:29:39 AM PST by rushmom
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To: Theodore R.; Republican Wildcat; William Creel; RonPaulLives
Notice that it was assumed that Democrats are "independent," but here "even" Republican voters are independent-minded.

I worked for the Kerr camp, that said... Talked to one voter, "He said, This is the Nth time, I've been called, To Hell w/ both...I'm not voting."...(I'm NOT criticizing, just observing) it seems Kerr was 'out-hustled' for votes, while the ones that would have voted for her were harass enough not to vote...the 'RATs were gently coaxed to the polls....its seems a longer campaign, more/better resources, a more personal visits/approach by the Kerr would have helped...not to mention the slanted Media coverage..."the GOP was over-electeered, to a fault...taken too much, for granted"

10 posted on 02/22/2004 7:48:37 AM PST by skinkinthegrass (Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't out to get you :)
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Comment #11 Removed by Moderator

To: William Creel
Well, Yeah...some truth to that. "We must always pick our battles...on ground favorable to Us...Sun Tzu, The Art of War" :(
12 posted on 02/22/2004 8:06:32 AM PST by skinkinthegrass (Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't out to get you :)
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To: skinkinthegrass
Kerr's loss can only be pinned on Mitch McConnell and his ego.
1. He thought that he could choose the candidate instead of letting the Republican voters decided who to send into the election.
2. Kerr is an undistinguished State Senator.
3. Bush and Cheney said that they would make a campaign visit then did not show up. Makes you wonder why?

Mitch thought whatever he said would go and forgot that the voters do matter.
People better wake up and get their act together instead of being sheep.
13 posted on 02/22/2004 9:26:23 AM PST by Billy54
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To: rushmom; SLB
Au contraire, this article illustrates clearly what is going on.

Democrats outworked Republicans in this race.

When Democrats outwork Republicans, Democrats win.

When Republicans outwork Democrats, Republicans win.

Something so simple, but yet hard.

Article says that voter canvassing was done, well in advance of election day. Then just prior to Election Day, voters got a visit, asking for them to vote Democrat. They even got a SECOND visit asking for their vote. And they even targeted the Republican districts, not the Dem ones.

This sort of hard work will win every time.

Right now, the Democrats at all levels want to remove Bush more desperately than Republicans want to win, and win big. I'm hoping this can change over the next few months.
14 posted on 02/22/2004 9:32:17 AM PST by RightOnGOP
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To: Billy54
First time post
your right mitch lost this election
a lot of people voted for Ben or stayed home after Mitch came down an picked Kerr running the rest of the repubs out of the race
this fall we'll pick who should run an then hopefully Mitch will support our pick
15 posted on 02/22/2004 9:44:24 AM PST by kentuck
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To: Theodore R.
Ted Jackson, a Republican political consultant from Louisville, offered another possible cause of Kerr's loss: Kentuckians in both parties don't want one party to dominate.

This is going to be a recurring theme for Republicans as long as we have the presidency, house and senate. Enough voters have a stated desire for divided government to push swing districts over to the side that is out of power.

It's a problem I don't mind having, but a problem nonetheless.

16 posted on 02/22/2004 12:22:41 PM PST by JohnnyZ (People don't just bump into each other and have sex. This isn't Cinemax! -- Jerry)
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To: Billy54
So Kentuckian's didn't act like New Yorkers and vote for whomever a seasoned politico annoints.
Cool. Good for them, and shame on McConnell for playing King.
17 posted on 02/22/2004 12:32:18 PM PST by mabelkitty
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To: Billy54; kentuck; Republican Wildcat
Kerr's loss can only be pinned on Mitch McConnell and his ego. -- Billy54

You know, it sure makes people wonder about you when you only post to attack conservatives like Mitch McConnell, and glorify Arlen Specter while trashing Rick Santorum. You got called for it on the Pennsylvania thread but here you are again.

As for KENTUCK -- welcome to FR.

Genuine FReepers? Moby trolls trying to be subtle by stirring up dissention in the ranks? Who knows?

18 posted on 02/22/2004 12:33:44 PM PST by JohnnyZ (People don't just bump into each other and have sex. This isn't Cinemax! -- Jerry)
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To: JohnnyZ
glad to be here.As for Mitch hey I'd vote for him. There were other republicans running when he came down an decided who we could vote for.Well i think I'll pick who i should vote for. This fall i believe any repub. that runs will beat Ben as they would have in this election if not for Mitch.Hopefully it will be Buford I think he's the only repub to announce he's running so far.
Hey just what i think happened could be wrong
19 posted on 02/22/2004 12:53:02 PM PST by kentuck
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To: Theodore R.
People blaming Mitch, or saying he didn't work for Kerr, are ridiculous. Mitch's entire staff, including Billy Piper, were loaned to Kerr's campaign, and he raised tons for her. Nobody stayed home because "Mitch played King". Chandler had been campaigning for 18 months straight and had 100% name recognition. The negatives on him in the governor's race (Patton, e.g.) didn't carry over. None of the GOP candidates had any significant name recognition relative to Chandler - and that includes Lonnie Napier, who was so angry about Mitch leaning on the party to pick Kerr. Nobody outworked the GOP, either. They just had a good candidate.

Lonnie or Stan either one would have had the same hurdles to overcome had Mitch not gotten involved. They may be a bit relieved they were not the candidate, because now they have lifeleft when they can mount a whole season-long campaign next time. They don't have to face a highly known candidate with just two months to win.

Those who ignore the uphill battle we had in this race are doing so over sour grapes. I can sympathize with their anger at Mitch, but that's not realistic and it's not helpful to keeping the party moving toward winning for Bush and Buford,presumably, in the fall.
20 posted on 02/22/2004 1:21:31 PM PST by Bluegrass Federalist
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To: kentuck
What makes one think that Republicans in the Sixth District associated Alice Forgy Kerr with McConnell? If McConnell "selected" her and then became inactive in the race, how would the average voter have made such a connection? Would someone other than Kerr have been a stronger candidate? If so, why did McConnell "recommend" Kerr? It sounds like McConnell wanted to run a woman, and she was the choice, but the candidacy simply failed, perhaps for no reason having to do with Kerr.

As for the next candidate, good luck to him, but I doubt that KY will retire Rep. Chandler after just eight months on the job. People in KY are not know for rash political action, but they act very slowly over time.
21 posted on 02/22/2004 1:21:50 PM PST by Theodore R. (When will they ever learn?)
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To: Theodore R.
I don't know,maybe we can read local papers,listen to local talk radio,watch local news,and know a little bit about local events
22 posted on 02/22/2004 1:30:10 PM PST by kentuck
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To: FutureSenatorFromKentucky
I believe bush and any other repub running this fall will win.As for Kerr losing i know several voters including me who either did not vote or voted dim believing the repub we pick
will win this fall
23 posted on 02/22/2004 2:02:25 PM PST by kentuck
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To: kentuck
. . . As for Kerr losing i know several voters including me who either did not vote or voted dim believing the repub we pick will win this fall.

Boy are you a big help! Didn't vote or voted for Chandler?? Pretty strange behavior for a supposed Republican. I think you're trolling, newbie "friend."

24 posted on 02/22/2004 4:50:45 PM PST by toddst
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To: Billy54
Bush and Cheney said that they would make a campaign visit then did not show up.

That is not true. Wouldn't happen to have some electricuted buddies somewhere named "LexingtonGOP" "UKFan" and "JohninSD", would you?

25 posted on 02/22/2004 5:52:01 PM PST by Republican Wildcat
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To: Theodore R.
That's very surprising, considering she is so popular in her district and usually wins it very decisively (I think with 58% in the 2002). I think that is a clear sign the Republican base just didn't turn out and the Dem base was energized to win something after having lost so much.

It's also possible the political ads, after having just been treated so many just recently with the 2003 races, rolled off of people's backs. They seemed to have very little effect, positive or negative.
26 posted on 02/22/2004 5:57:13 PM PST by Republican Wildcat
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To: toddst
yes i think Kerr losing will be a big help.If Kerr had won this fall we would have a weak candidate running most likely with no other repub's running against her in the primary's just look what happened to the others after Mitch picked her this time.With Ben winning this fall we'll be able to pick the strongest candidate in the primary.I think Ben is a very weak candidate for reelection this fall just look at how badly he was beaten for Gov.
I guess we will have to wait till this fall to see.
BTW think I'm whatever you want
I'll not vote for someone just because the powers that be decide thats who i should vote for
[ Mitch]
I've been lurking here since at least 1998 Great site
nice to talk with you friend
]
27 posted on 02/22/2004 6:00:01 PM PST by kentuck
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To: Theodore R.
Notice that it was assumed that Democrats are "independent," but here "even" Republican voters are independent-minded.

Well, that comment has to do with the fact that it is more likely that Democrat registered voters in Kentucky will cross over than Republicans. Republicans winning elections so consistently now in a State with overwhelming Democrat voter registration is what drives comments like that.

28 posted on 02/22/2004 6:00:38 PM PST by Republican Wildcat
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To: kentuck
If Kerr had won this fall we would have a weak candidate running

Say again? An incumbent Congresswoman on the ticket would not have been a weak candidate, let alone with a strong President and U.S. Senator of the same party topping the same ticket.

29 posted on 02/22/2004 6:04:13 PM PST by Republican Wildcat
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To: kentuck
lot of people voted for Ben or stayed home after Mitch came down

Uh, yeah...that's it. All .05% of the voters who knew McConnell was involved in the caucuses.

30 posted on 02/22/2004 6:09:16 PM PST by Republican Wildcat
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To: JohnnyZ
It's the same garbage we've had here before. Their recent sign-on dates indicate they are cut from the same cloth of those trolls I caught doing this same sort of thing and got ZOTTED a few weeks ago...actually it turned out, as I suspected, those trolls (and more) were all the same person.
31 posted on 02/22/2004 6:11:58 PM PST by Republican Wildcat
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To: Republican Wildcat
well she lost so she must have been a weak candidate first repub to lose a special election since when 91-92
32 posted on 02/22/2004 6:17:09 PM PST by kentuck
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To: Republican Wildcat
if thats all that know it's because they didn't want to know sort of a sorry way to vote huh not knowing not caring
33 posted on 02/22/2004 6:20:31 PM PST by kentuck
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To: kentuck
look fellers I'm not trying to start anything here.Just giving you my thoughts if you don't agree fine.I think I'm right you think your right your not going to change my mind on this subject and i guess I'm not going to change yours lets move on. No hard feelings
34 posted on 02/22/2004 6:37:17 PM PST by kentuck
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To: kentuck
That's not a response to what I wrote, and you know it.

Your agenda here is beyond clear. Go find some other place to play. Good bye!
35 posted on 02/22/2004 9:02:04 PM PST by Republican Wildcat
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To: Republican Wildcat
well i did what i wanted and thought best. I'll live with it i guess you'll have too also.You do what you thinks right I'll what i think is right.Whats your problem
36 posted on 02/22/2004 9:15:33 PM PST by kentuck
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To: kentuck
I'll not vote for someone just because the powers that be decide thats who i should vote for [ Mitch] I've been lurking here since at least 1998 Great site.

You still sound like a McConnell hater. That being said, of course we need a strong candidate to retake the 6th District seat from Chandler. I guess we'll see who comes forward.

BTW its easy to say you've been lurking since 1998 and FR is "a great site." Put your money where your mouth is and support Free Republic. Also get something on your profile. THEN I might believe you. Talk's cheap.

37 posted on 02/23/2004 7:59:21 AM PST by toddst
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To: kentuck
Now what are you talking about?
38 posted on 02/23/2004 10:43:39 AM PST by Republican Wildcat
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To: toddst
It would also be nice if he would learn how to use basic punctuation.
39 posted on 02/23/2004 10:44:47 AM PST by Republican Wildcat
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To: toddst
Well Tom Buford has said he will run.Elected to the State Senate 16 yr. ago i think, appointed repup whip upon taking seat,I'm not sure if he's still whip.From Jessamine Co..I don't know if anyone else has sad they would run.
40 posted on 02/23/2004 11:38:17 AM PST by kentuck
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To: Republican Wildcat
It would also be nice if he would learn how to use basic punctuation.

10-4. I'm not objecting to posts taking a constructive criticism approach to Senator McConnell. However, he did not cause loss of the 6th District seat to Chandler. I also believe those who try to be critical on FR should be financial supporters of FR.

41 posted on 02/23/2004 11:43:35 AM PST by toddst
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