Influencer Spotlight: How Phil Moffett's next moves can affect the governor's race

05/23/2011 07:50 PM

Phil Moffett might not have won the Republican primary for governor last week, but he garnered enough support to win the respect of GOP leaders.

Moffett and his lieutenant governor candidate state Rep. Mike Harmon of Danville lost the primary nomination by 10 points to David Williams, the Senate president, and his running mate, Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer. But Williams and Farmer out-raised and out-spent Moffett and Harmon by about 10-1 (roughly $1.3 million to around $135,000).

Now, Moffett’s popularity with tea party activists makes him a key figure in the coming weeks as the Republican Party tries to pull together to prepare for the fall general election.

Many tea party activists have expressed frustration with Williams, and some are saying they’re throwing their support elsewhere or will sit on their hands, as Kenny Colston reported last week.

Moffett attended the Republican Party’s unity rally Saturday in Frankfort. He stood behind Williams but did not address the crowd. And he said he supports Williams and sought to quell the notion that he might run as a write-in candidate. At the same time, he wouldn’t say what he planned to do — if anything — on Williams’ behalf on the campaign trail.

That makes him one to watch in the coming months, and many of the party leaders already have taken notice:

(The “Influencer Spotlight” segment runs most Mondays on Pure Politics, which Insight Communications customers can watch on cn|2 at 7 p.m.EST/6 Central or 11:30 p.m./10:30 Central.)

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