In Oct. 23-29 IssueBy Greg WellsTimes Journal Managing Editor
JAMESTOWN — Some of the Republican candidates facing competition in the coming election made their way to the steps of the Russell County Courthouse Monday to appeal for votes.
U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell took the lion's share of the attention. He was praised by local State Rep. Vernie McGaha, and State Senator David Williams of Burkesville. He was introduced by his wife the U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao.
Experience and the ability to bring home the pork-barrel spending was the focus of the incumbent's speech.
He went as far as to tell the media after the speeches that the economy was not the major issue in the coming election, it was the clout he had on Capitol Hill and how he had and would use it for Kentucky.
“My opponent will never have a modicum of a chance to have the kind of influence I have,” McConnell told between 30 and 40 onlookers.
He said that among his peers in the Senate, "Your senator is a lot more equal."
This is the first year McConnell has faced this grave a challenge since he was elected 24 years ago.
His opponent Bruce Lunsford has received support from national Democratic organizations and the two are locked in a contentious battle of the advertisements on television.
Lunsford recently picked up the endorsement of the state's major newspaper and in reaction to McConnell's attacks on Lunsford's connection to a veteran's clinic he has also added some high-profile retired veterans.
The Democrat has been beating the drum hard for the party line assigning blame for the present economic situation to the Republican Congress and administration.
McConnell's own emphasis during the speech on the federal money he has brought home to Kentucky is at odds with the stress the Republican machine is placing on “cutting congressional ear-marks.”
“He (Lundsford) spent the last 24 years helping him-self. I spent the last 24 years helping you,” McConnell said to the Republican faithful who came out to hear him, and listed the hundreds of millions in federal spending he said he has brought to the commonwealth.
First up to speak Monday was Ed Whitfield, the U.S. Representative for this district.
He spent time praising McConnell before returning to his own campaign.
Whitfield is said to be more secure in his own race and is facing a Paducah Democrat, Heather Ryan. He spent little time on himself and never referred to his opponent.
Whitfield's voting record shows him to be pro-life, and his ranking by the American Civil Liberties Union is decidedly conservative on civil rights issues.
Sen. David Williams finished out the speeches. He was there, he said, as a proxy for the John McCain campaign for President.
After a few comments the Republican leader in the Kentucky senate switched his topic to the Republican leader in the U.S. Senate, McConnell.
He also praised the power McConnell stood to wield in Kentucky's favor in Washington D.C.