Message and structural elements need to improve for Democrats to win statewide elections, Democratic consultant says

12/02/2015 10:17 AM

With a nine point defeat in the gubernatorial election, and only retaining control of two Constitutional offices Democrats are trying to regroup before 2016 races.

Part of Democrats poor 2015 performance was a “rudderless” gubernatorial campaign, said Democratic consultant Matt Wyatt. But, beyond message, Wyatt said structurally the Democratic Party needs to run statewide campaigns in all 120 of Kentucky’s counties.

“We need to empower the local county parties,” Wyatt said. “We need to give them resources; give them training. Then they need to go out and get precinct captains, and they need to go out and have neighborhood captains.”

“We need to raise this from the bottom up, and it can’t be a top down situation like we’ve had.”

On message, Wyatt said Democrats hold the high ground on the issues; they’ve just gotten away from clearly defining what that position is and how it impacts voters.

“One of the frustrations that I have as a Democrat who lives outside the triangle, and was raised there, is after an election like this, people say that people voted against their interest,” Wyatt said. “We don’t say that when a well-to-do liberal votes against their interest.”

“In my opinion people view that the Republicans vote against their economic interest, but the Democrats don’t respect and focus on their social issues — their principles,” Wyatt continued. “What we need to do is do a better job at not giving that as a choice for voters, because we are right on those issues as well.”

Wyatt said Democrats let the GOP define elections on “very narrow social issues.” For instance, he said that recent elections have been run on “abortions, gay rights and guns.”

If Democrats are going to win elections, Wyatt said they need to focus on “moral issues” of poverty, healthcare, education and job creation.

Hear the rest of Wyatt’s advice for Democrats running for office in the interview below.

Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics available exclusively on Spectrum News. Pure Politics is the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like his coverage of the backlog of DNA rape kits waiting to be tested in Kentucky. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Pure Politics airs weeknight at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Nick on Twitter @NStorm_Politics. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or


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