You hear it all the time from politicians known for hyperbole: "This is maybe the most important election of your lifetime." But there is one difference, this time they would be right.
UNITED STATES SENATE
Most Kentuckians know that Barack Obama has done terrible damage to our nation. And that majority knows that if he is not stopped from executing the rest of his agenda the damage may become irreversible.
Elections are about choices. And the ONLY choice in this race for those who want to stop Barack Obama is Mitch McConnell.
It is clear that Barack Obama wants to bankrupt the coal industry, flood our nation with illegal workers competing for jobs with out of work Americans, to destroy national pride in favor of an international apology, and to fundamentally transform our nation built on faith in God into a nation that looks to government for blessings.
Alison Lundergan Grimes recently told reporters in Northern Kentucky that her election will "make history". I can't believe she said that.
The Grimes campaign is a mirror image of Obama's: blame the predecessor, hide your true loyalties and get people to vote for making a dangerous change in direction by calling it "historic".
Here's the real history. Mitch McConnell has nearly always had close races. It would not be surprising if this one was as close as the polls suggest.
So forget the polls and consider the real question of historic proportions: will Kentucky make history by electing the next majority leader of the United States Senate or make the mistake of repeating the errors of 2008 and 2012 to the detriment of our Commonwealth and our nation by electing an inexperienced upstart?
We need to put a stop TO Obama in the Senate, not a vote FOR Obama in place of one that works.
Grimes campaign is grounded in the firm belief that voters are dumb. Dumb enough to let her get by without answering questions, dumb enough to not see that she is running the same kind of campaign Obama did, and dumb enough to expect different results.
McConnell is the only choice a chance for America has.
Michele Keller is currently filling the position left vacant by the passing of Wil Schroder. Keller was elected to the Court of Appeals eight years ago. Prior to that she was a relatively unknown lawyer.
As in many judicial elections in Kentucky people know very little about the opinions held by judicial candidates until they get elected. Then their opinions become law.
Efforts to change the law so voters can learn more about candidates before they acquire the power to rule over life and liberty continue to be met with great resistance, particularly by those already on the bench.
Perhaps the most damning piece of information in any judicial race I have seen in years came out not long ago about Michele Keller. It was her vote in favor of allowing a teenager from another state to travel out of state for an abortion without their parents ever knowing that has cut her campaign deeply.
Her opponent, Teresa Cunningham has gotten very little attention except from those who oppose Keller for her pro-choice opinion and her deep roots inside the democratic party operation in Campbell County.
Keller will likely win and her time on the Court of Appeals and Supreme court has been marked by mostly rather kind and well reasoned opinions, but for those who vote principle over personality, Cunningham will be their choice.
These are your options. I make no recommendation.
COURT OF APPEALS
When Governor Steve Beshear appointed Allison Jones to the Court of Appeals to fill the seat left vacant after Keller got appointed to the Supreme Court, everyone knew exactly why. Her husband was credited with raising tons of money for Beshear. In other words, quid pro quo.
Jones will likely lose to Justin Sanders in large part because Sanders is from Northern Kentucky where most of the votes will be cast. In addition Sanders has worked far harder on his campaign than Jones and has earned his votes.
But Sanders should win not because he worked hard but because he is clearly the better choice. He has experience in the courtroom, experience handling both criminal and civil cases and he has the most important experience of all, he represents people.
This race has come down to voting for quality versus voting for quid pro quo. I suggest you vote quality.
Sanders has the temperament, the knowledge and the compassion to make a great jurist and should receive your vote.
In Kentucky our court system is divided into various levels of decision making. Circuit court is the court of general jurisdiction. It is also the first level of appeal from the District Court. Within Circuit Courts there has been carved out the relatively new "Family Court" which combines some of the old functions of the District Courts regarding family issues and mixed them under a new umbrella. In Kenton County one Circuit Court seat is on the ballot, two Family Court seats are on the ballot and one District Court seat is contested.
For the Circuit Court the choice should be Kathy Lape. There are many reasons why her experience, her background and her commitment to family would make her the better choice, but there is a political reason as well.
For judges to be truly independent they should have as few loyalties to court house politics as possible. We lawyers have seen it far too many times in counties all across the Commonwealth. A judge's impartiality is questioned by his close relationship with the prosecutor, the county judge, the sheriff, the police department or some other powerful political force in the community. Few if any lawyers have the courage to speak out about such things, but the people we represent often express fear of them.
Distrust of the judiciary unravels the fabric of our nation of laws. Kathy Lape is truly independent. She is not part of the "courthouse crowd" and her service to the people of Kenton County will help restore trust in our judiciary. I urge you to give her your vote.
For family court there are a couple of races pitting the current incumbents against lawyer challengers. In both races the incumbents are doing a very good job and deserve to be re-elected.
Chris Mehling has had to run a harder race than necessary due to the last name of his opponent. The Knochelman who challenges him is not the guy who just won the County Judge Executive's seat. Clear out that confusion and you will be left with the clear choice, Chris Mehling for Family Court 2nd Division.
Incumbent Lisa Bushelman is being challenged for her seat in the 5th Division Family Court Race by Stephanie Dietz. Lisa is doing a very good job and there has not been a compelling reason made to replace her. Bushelman should get your vote.
In the only contested District Court race incumbent Ann Ruttle is being challenged by Chris Nordloh. Ann enjoys a solid reputation for making good calls in hard cases. Her challenger just wants the job. You should vote for Ruttle.
The single biggest race for Circuit Judge in Northern Kentucky is in Boone and Gallatin counties. The clear choice is Rick Brueggemann. Rick represents a break from lawyer driven politics on the bench, much like his predecessor Tony Frohlich has. Both are men of extremely high character, solid legal backgrounds and courageously hard workers.
In this race Brueggemann isn't just another lawyer turned judge. He is a true constitutionalist. We live in times when the law and the Constitution are being challenged not so much by cases but by lethargy on the bench.
Defense of the Constitution has cost millions of American lives. Rick Brueggemann will honor those sacrifices by his own courage, in his own time, as Circuit Court Judge.
Owen, Grant, Carroll Counties
Two lawyers, John Brent Threlkeld and Leslie Knight, are competing for the seat now held by retiring Circuit Court Judge Stepehen Bates. Developments in the last couple of weeks have made this a tough race.
Leslie Knight won handily in a mult-candidate primary and looked to be the favorite. But Threlkeld has out worked her by a large measure and has been helped by a recent scandal surrounding Knight.
Knight, it is being said, advocated for giving heroin addicts clean needles during a recent debate. Then her brother was recently charged with manufacturing methamphetamine.
This coupled with a lawsuit foreclosing on unpaid tax bills she has accumulated and another lawsuit in which the address she listed as her residence on her campaign filing papers is being challenged as false has tainted her suddenly in the waning days of the campaign.
Knight is presumably the choice of the "courthouse crowd" but that isn't as much a positive as it once was. These negative stories swirling around her and her campaign raise real questions about her trustworthiness. It would be helpful to voters to have them resolved before their votes are cast, but considering that they might not be resolved leaves much to be concerned with.
A hearing over her qualifications to serve in the seat will be held in front of Judge Bartlett in Kenton County this week. I will update with an endorsement after that hearing.