Tea Party Governor Matt Bevin is at it again. Bevin has managed to cut funds to higher education. Kentucky has only been cutting higher education for the last 8 years, by the way. But before he made the Democrats cave in the State House, Bevin got sued by the Democratic State Attorney General Adam Beshear for exceeding his authority on the budget. Bevin didn’t like this one bit, so he has decided to go to political war with Adam Beshear and his father, Steven Beshear, who was the previous governor. Seems that Steven Beshear is a crook who shook down state workers for campaign contributions, or so Bevin says. And both Beshear’s worked with a former state official, Tim Longmeyer, who has pleaded guilty to federal bribery charge.
So what does this have to do with political parties and neglecting GOTV efforts and party building?
For a long time there have been complaints that the Kentucky Democratic Party was an inept group staffed with people who didn’t do a damn thing for registering new voters or GOTV. All they did was show up for the pay checks. Accusations went out from the activists that then Governor Beshear appointed his buddies and let the party wither on the vine.
However, Governor Beshear managed to do one great thing that helped his reputation among Democrats. He accepted the ACA and set up Kynect. Now, over half a million people who didn’t have health insurance in Kentucky now have it.
Unfortunately, Kynect is under siege from Bevin. He has vowed to dismantle the state exchange. In another year, Kentuckians who have coverage will have to sign up through the federal exchange.
But if Beshear and Kynect were so popular, how the hell did Bevin get elected?
Easy. Steven Beshear’s neglect of the Kentucky Democratic Party apparatus for eight years did leave it moribund. Additionally, Democrats ran a candidate, Conway, who didn’t bother to spend any money on GOTV. Most of Conway’s money went toward media ad buys. Oh, and Conway was a terrible candidate to boot.
Without a GOTV effort and a lousy candidate, Democrats stayed home. Republicans and DINO’s that hate Obama showed up to vote for Bevin. And it was a disastrous night for the rest of the Democrats running. Only two of the candidates for higher state office won: Adam Beshear for State Attorney General and Allison Lundergan Grimes for Secretary of State.
When Bevin started to dismantle Kynect, Steven Beshear started to kick up a fuss with the media. I’m not sure how effective Beshear’s campaign would be against Bevin. But Bevin decided to mandate budget cuts without obtaining a budget from the legislature; this precipitated a warning from the Adam Beshear that Bevin’s actions were unconstitutional. Beshear gave Bevin a week to rescind his budget cuts. Bevin refused, so Beshear has taken Bevin to court.
Longmeyer’s guilty plea and ties to the Beshear’s has provided Bevin an opportunity to paint former Governor Steven Beshear as a crook. Given the bad blood between Bevin and the Beshear’s, this will only get worse I’m afraid. Did Beshear pressure state workers to contribute to his campaign or to others? I don’t know.
What I do know though is that we probably wouldn’t be having this airing of possible dirty laundry if Conway had won the election. And I do know that Kynect would still be around for four more years. Given the hyper partisanship of Republicans and craziness of Matt Bevin, it should have crossed someone’s mind that maybe keeping the governorship in Democratic hands would be a good thing for the previous occupant.