Trey Grayson says familiar-sounding names could be key, makes picks in Tuesday's primary

05/11/2011 06:43 PM

Former Republican Secretary of State Trey Grayson said name recognition and even having a more “normal” sounding name might be enough to win a primary race, with voter turnout expected to be under 10 percent.

Secretary of State Elaine Walker predicted a turnout number of about 10 percent, which Grayson said was always a difficult job in a primary election. A low turnout makes the prediction that much tougher.

“There’s not a lot of awareness of the candidates in a lot of these races,” said Grayson, who is now director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University. (see the 1:40 mark of the video) “In this race because there’s so few voters, it’s kind of hard to handicap and these things like who’s got the best sounding name, often matter,” Grayson said. (see the 6:40 mark of the video)

Grayson said he expects state Senate President David Williams to win the Republican race for governor, mainly because of a lack of funds and name recognition for his opponents, Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw and Louisville businessman Phil Moffett.

“In a statewide race, no matter how great your grassroots network is, you can’t win these races without the name i.d., especially in the primary,” Grayson said. (see the 2:20 mark of the video)

And name recognition doesn’t even have to pertain to the person’s track record — it could just be that a person knows someone with a similar name or they have a strong sounding name. That could come into play in both the Republican primaries for state auditor — between Addia Wuchner and John Kemper — and secretary of state, which is a race between Hilda Legg and Bill Johnson.

“The polling that cn|2 did shows that Bill (Johnson) starts off in the lead and I think a lot of that goes to his name,” Grayson said. (see the 3:30 mark of the video).

You can see the poll results here.

Grayson pointed to the 2003 Republican primary for attorney general in which Jack Wood ran a limited campaign and still defeated state Rep. Tim Feeley.

Hilda Legg, despite an unusual name, is in a bit of a different spot because she has money to spend on advertising, Grayson said. “A week’s worth of TV (ads) is better than nothing,” Grayson said.

About Pure Politics

Pure Politics 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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