Power of incumbency, 'fracture' among some Republicans mark election, former blogger Nickolas says

06/13/2011 07:56 AM

Incumbency is tough to overcome, but don’t count out a “top tier” ticket of Republicans David Williams and Richie Farmer, said former Kentucky political blogger Mark Nickolas.

He said Williams — the Senate president — and Farmer, the agriculture commissioner and former University of Kentucky basketball player, will be well-funded and tough campaigners. And Nickolas said they will likely close the gap from the 21-point lead Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear has in the latest cn|2 Poll. .

“What it speaks to is that it’s awfully hard to knock off an incumbent, especially in Kentucky,” Nickolas said. And he added that voters tend to lean more Democratic when it comes to state elections.

“Kentucky has this sort of wonderful schizophrenia when it comes to elections. It treats its statewide races so much differently than its federal races,” he added. (see the 3:30 mark of the clip)

Nickolas, a former Kentucky campaign operative-turned-blogger, sees a split in the Republican party now, which was very different than the unified Republican party that Nickolas and then-candidate Ben Chandler faced in 2003, when they ran against Ernie Fletcher.

“There really is a fracture among sort of the more business oriented Republicans and more of the social and some of the libertarians,” Nickolas said. “I think that the governor has to feel good. It’s going to help his fundraising. It’s never over, but certainly you want to head into the general with a double digit lead. Seems pretty commanding to me.” (see the 4:10 mark of the clip)

Nickolas, who now lives in New York, still pays attention to Kentucky politics, calling it “crazy as ever.”

He was once one of the foremost left leaning political bloggers in Kentucky. Mark Nickolas’ Bluegrassreport.org was a must read for Kentucky politicos when it started in 2005 until Nickolas moved to Montana late in 2007.

Nickolas relocated to New York City about two years ago. He worked with former Democratic Gov. David Paterson and is now in film school. Nickolas said he wanted to do more advocacy work and to make some documentaries.

Nickolas said he had kind of “run out of steam” as far as politics go. While in Kentucky, Nickolas served as campaign manager for then-House Speaker Jody Richards’ campaign for governor in 2003, then Ben Chandler’s unsuccessful general election campaign for governor. He later helped Chandler win the 6th District congressional seat.

About Pure Politics

Pure Politics with Ryan Alessi airs Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. ET and again at 11:30 p.m. ET in all of cn|2's Kentucky markets. The program features political analysis and news, as well as interviews with officials, candidates, policy makers and political observers.

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