Cover the state
by Cris Ritchie
Well, the gubernatorial election is most assuredly coming near. My inbox has been flooded with e-mails from Governor Fletcher's office or his campaign with subject titles like “Governor Fletcher Signs Ford Bill” or "Governor Fletcher Announces Nifco Inc. to Locate New Facility in Shelbyville” or even “Judge Executives Endorse Fletcher.”
But its not just from Fletcher’s office. Billy Harper sends us stuff all the time, but Anne Northup’s campaign is mysteriously absent from our inboxes.
But that’s just the Republicans. We also get things from Steve Beshear, Bruce Lunsford, and even Jody Richards from time to time, but the latter’s correspondence is mostly in the form of the “good deeds” he is doing while Speaker of the House, and less on his campaign. But other names, like Galbraith, Henry, Miller, and even the eastern Kentuckian Otis Hensley are also noticeably absent from our inboxes.
The Herald is pretty much a Perry County paper. We don’t stray too far from the those limits coverage wise, but for candidates to be basically ignoring Perry County means they are more than likely ignoring other eastern Kentucky counties as well. Of course, the population in eastern Kentucky is less than in the northern part of the state, but do our votes not count? And when the sum of our votes are tallied, do they not make a difference? It would seem that they don’t by the actions of some of these candidates, some of whom have yet to even step foot in Perry or other eastern Kentucky counties. As it is, I can think of only five candidates who have been to Perry County as gubernatorial candidates, those being Beshear, Northup, Hensley, Galbraith, and Harper. If I’ve left one out, do excuse me. Others have been here. Miller addressed the Chamber of Commerce in the past 12 months, Fletcher has actually been here quite a few times in the past two years, and Henry was here with his wife during a 2005 Veteran’s Day event at the local VFW, but they weren’t official candidates just yet. The other two, to my knowledge, have yet to step foot in Hazard or Perry County.
Eastern Kentucky may seem like a small block of voters, but when it comes down to it, our votes may very well make the final difference in the election’s outcome, and for candidates to ignore this fact is not an intelligent move on their part. This is a statewide election, and the last time I checked, eastern Kentucky still has a say in statewide elections.
If you look at the Kentucky River Area Development District, according to the 2002 population count, there are 119,699 people living within this district, which is comprised of Perry, Knott, Leslie, Breathitt, Letcher, Owsley, Wolfe, and Lee Counties. The household count is 47,097, meaning there are at least 47,097 people of age to vote in this eight county district. If only half of them voted, in a state the size of Kentucky, it’s still a very significant number of voters. Granted, there are two eastern Kentuckians running for Lt. Governor positions, those being Dr. Daniel Mongiardo of Hazard and Greg Stumbo
of Prestonsburg, but that’s no reason to turn your backs on a possible vote.
Is it possible to win a Kentucky elections without courting the eastern Kentucky vote? Sure. But in a election with so many cadidates, winning such an election without courting these voters is going to be a hard task to complete. With voting spread over such a wide area, it's asinine to think you can win anything with a campaign that covers the state, and not just Jeffereson and Fayette Counties.
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