Winner: John Yarmuth
Loser: Ben Chandler
While Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth was busy winning a historic blowout victory in the once deep-red 3rd District congressional seat over a hapless Brooks Wicker, Rep. Ben Chandler was facing defeat by a surprisingly large margin to Tea Party ally Andy Barr in Lexington.
While Yarmuth’s strategy of making liberal votes and vigorously defending them to the public appears to have made him invincible, Chandler’s strategy of cowering from Democratic policies in order to appease conservative voters — and avoiding engagement at all costs — can finally be crowned a failure.
Politics is a game where hiding your head in the sand can work in the short term, but not in the long term. Eventually you have to get out there and stand for something, or else you might lose to a candidate as vapid as Andy Barr.
And for those who are into the “Louisville vs. Lexington” battle, you know how to score this one.
Loser: Brooks Wicker
Take the hint, Brooks.
Winner: Urban Democrats in Kentucky’s General Assembly
Loser: Rural Democrats in Kentucky’s General Assembly
Republicans won four seats in the state House, but there was no doubt that Democrats were much happier with this outcome than Republicans, who actually thought they had a great chance at 10 seats and taking the majority.
Republicans couldn’t take the majority because their efforts to knock off urban Democrats turned out to be a giant dud. In Louisville, Steve Riggs, Charles Miller and Denny Butler all won handily — not to mention Sen. Perry Clark’s blowout win over Chris Thieneman. And in Lexington, Susan Westrom and Ruth Ann Palumbo both won double-digit victories despite the Republican Party throwing heavy money to their challengers.
Even in smaller urban cities, Democrats were successful, especially in Owensboro — where Republicans spent a ton of money and effort — as Jim Glenn and John Arnold were able to hold onto tight victories in what most would call upsets.
But in rural districts, it was a different story. Republicans absolutely cleaned house in far western Kentucky, flipping three open Democratic seats with relative ease. They also picked up three other rural seats around the state, and came a hair shy of upsetting two of the best-financed Democrats, Bob Damron and Jeff Greer.
Republicans were at least hoping to win enough seats that they would be able to get a few Democrats to switch parties and take back the majority, but with the current House makeup at 55-45 Democrats, the speaker’s gavel appears to be securely in Greg Stumbo’s hands.
Also, with Democrats still in control of House committees, the government-mandated transvaginal ultrasound probe will not be in your doctor’s hands.
Loser: White men
Winner: Everybody else
This election was the death knell for the days of white men calling the shots in America, as Obama’s 2008 coalition of women, African-Americans and Latinos not only stayed put, but strengthened. With America’s demographics continuing to change in this direction, it’s time for the Republicans to come up with a new game plan, or else they’re looking at a future of irrelevance as … minorities.
Concession prize: You still have Kentucky.
Winner: Civil Rights
Before Tuesday, marriage equality was 0-32 when it came to state referendums. Tuesday? 4-0. Voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington all approved same-sex marriage, and voters in Minnesota rejected banning it, showing that the new civil rights front of our time is charging forward and leaving the past — Republicans and timid Democrats — behind. (Looking at you, Kentucky.)
On the reefer front, Colorado and Washington approved legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, giving the green light to — as Steve Doocy of Fox News said — get “potted up on weed.”
Louisville did its small part of honoring our dearly departed Gatewood Galbraith by handing our own “trailblazing” Perry Clark a resounding blowout victory for another term in the state Senate.
If the General Assembly wants to curry favor with the growing base of young voters and help revive our struggling rural economy, maybe they should take the industrial, medicinal or recreational hint.
Winner: Jim Glenn
and reproductive rights
Loser: Anti-choice fringe
State Rep. Jim Glenn of Owensboro took a couple of bold votes this year to defeat anti-abortion measures and faced an all-out assault because of it in his re-election race. But Glenn stood by his votes — as did a few other House Democrats under fire — and managed to shock Republicans by holding onto his seat, again by a slim margin.
On the national level, scores of Republicans with baffling statements and positions on forcing women impregnated by their rapist to give birth — most notably Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana — faced defeat.
You would think that Republicans would learn their lesson and never (ever ever ever) mention rape and abortion again in the same sentence. But we doubt it.
Winner: Councilwoman-elect Marilyn Parker
Birther/Muslim-truther/conspiracy theory-aficionado Marilyn Parker easily won her Metro Council race in the 18th District. We could say that the silver lining is being entertained by her certain future of crazy statements, but we don’t think that assault on our dignity is worth it. Lord help all you secret communists on the council … Parker is sure to expose you.
Winner: Irrational fear of Obama
Loser: Common sense
Kentuckians voted overwhelmingly to amend our state constitution to protect our right to fish and hunt. Thank God. Obama went through his first term without confiscating our fishing poles and hunting rifles, but you know he was only waiting until his second term to send his minions into our homes on the orders of his PETA puppet masters. Checkmate, Obama.
Loser: Sen. Rand Paul
Paul’s RandPAC spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to help Tea Party Senate candidates in five states, and finished with a sterling 0-5 record. Sources tell LEO that Paul still remains 0-1 against his infamous plugged toilet.