Lots on my plate here locally for politics today, all with national implications. First, Kentucky primary voters go to the polls today to choose candidates to succeed Gov. Dinosaur Steve Beshear, and the race on the GOP side will probably be decided here in the northern end of the state.
Northern Kentucky can swing what is a statistical dead heat for the Republican gubernatorial nomination Tuesday. After all, the region accounts for about 10 percent of the state’s registered GOP voters.
The question is, will voters from the region choose to use that power? They certainly haven’t in the past.
Election officials predict a 10 percent turnout statewide, and turnout in Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties has historically been even less than that in GOP elections since 2000.
So every vote will count in the Republican governor’s race, with three candidates in a statistical dead heat.
Louisville businessman Matt Bevin held a one-point lead over Agriculture Commissioner James Comer in the most recent Bluegrass Poll released last week. And Comer held a one-point lead over former Louisville City Councilman Hal Heiner. Former Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott is in a distant fourth with 8 percent. And with 14 percent undecided and a margin of error of 4 percentage points, it’s anyone’s race.
Bevin’s base is here in the NKY, so getting turnout here is the key to him getting the win. He’s also the biggest crackpot in the race, too nuts even for most of the GOP (as he was crushed in last year’s 2014 Senate primary against Mitch the Turtle) and if he should eke out a win here, it’s going to be Democrat Jack Conway’s race to lose. At least, that’s the plan…
Meanwhile, across the river, Attorney General Loretta Lynch will be in Cincinnati today, kicking off President Obama’s efforts to improve police relations in the US.
The U.S. attorney general is looking to Cincinnati as a model for how police departments should operate.
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch is traveling around the country, highlighting “collaborative programs and innovative policing practices.”
Her visit later today comes as some American cities grapple with distrust between their residents and police forces. The distrust and anger have boiled over in some places , in light of several recent police-related deaths of black men.
Cincinnati’s Collaborative Agreement is often looked to as a model for how police departments should work with the communities they serve. It was forged in the wake of the police shooting death of Timothy Thomas in spring 2001. His death sparked riots in Cincinnati’s historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, where Thomas was shot and killed; the community’s reaction was a flashpoint that uncovered long-simmering tensions and frustrations between residents and police, and eventually led to reforms in the city’s police department.
Lynch is looking to Cincinnati for ways to “advance public safety, strengthen police-community relations and foster mutual trust and respect.”
Well before Ferguson, South Charleston, and Cleveland made news, the shooting death of Timothy Thomas and the resulting days of protest during April 2001 in Cincinnati made national headlines. The country’s focus changed sharply just a few months later on September 11th, but people here haven’t forgotten. While the city still has a long way to go, things are markedly different now.
There is some hope at least.