Chuck Witt: Democratic party shoots itself in the foot

Published 11:53 am Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Democrat party in Kentucky is poised to shoot itself in the foot again. No, not its foot, its head.

A shot to the foot is easily fixed; one to the head, not so much so.

The sad thing is that the Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC), which funnels funds to candidates around the country, seems to do this perennially.

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In 2016, the DNCC attached itself relentlessly to the campaign of Hillary Clinton despite numerous polls which showed Bernie Sanders had a much better chance of defeating a Republican candidate than did Clinton. Behind-the-scenes shenanigans by people like Donna Brazile and Debbie Wasserman-Shultz resulted in Sanders being short-changed both in funds and exposure.

Now — allegedly — the DNCC has stepped into Kentucky politics and chosen Jim Gray as the Democrat candidate to try to defeat Andy Barr in the November elections of 2018.

There were already three candidates vying for the Democrat nomination to run against Barr before Gray entered the race.

Those three are Amy McGrath, Reggie Thomas and Geoff Young.

McGrath is a retired Marine lieutenant colonel, combat pilot, a graduate of Annapolis.

Thomas is an attorney with a law degree from Harvard and is currently a Kentucky state senator.

Geoff Young has degrees from MIT and UMass. He is a perennial candidate who ran for the Kentucky House in 2012 as a Green Party candidate and was defeated in Democrat primaries in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Gray is mayor of Lexington and ran unsuccessfully against Rand Paul for the U.S. Senate.

All four of these individuals are undoubtedly good people, and all have impressive credentials.

Here’s the problem(s).

One, when numerous individuals run for the same position in a primary, the amount of money available becomes diluted and contributors are challenged to select where they donor dollars will go, whom they will support.

If the primary battle becomes bitter, voters will be repelled by the bitterness and may choose not to vote for the winning candidate in the general election. It’s also possible that those who support one of the candidates who loses the primary, will refuse to switch their support to the winning candidate.

This was most likely demonstrated in 2016, when some disillusioned Sanders supporter refused to vote for Clinton.

Two, since the DNCC has — again, allegedly — decided to throw its support behind Gray, funds from that organization will not flow as freely to the other three candidates.

This is a travesty and it places the DNCC in the position of powerfully influencing who Kentucky Democrat voters select as their candidate to oppose Barr.

Republicans are undoubtedly doing hand-springs over this situation which is arising within the Democratic party.

Three, if the DNCC finds it necessary to funnel more funds into Kentucky during the primary, there will be fewer funds available going into the general election, funds which will be sorely needed to defeat the Republican candidate who will be running, not only as the incumbent, but as someone who has amassed a huge sum of campaign funds from the special interests which he has had time to cultivate during his terms in office and with, no doubt, the backing of perhaps the Senate’s most adept fund-raiser, Mitch McConnell.

This is not a shot to be heard around the world, but it surely will resound in Kentucky.

Chuck Witt is a retired architect and a lifelong resident of Winchester. He can be reached at

About Whitney Leggett

Whitney Leggett is managing editor of The Winchester Sun and Winchester Living magazine. To contact her, email or call 859-759-0049.

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