Governor Fletcher won re-nomination yesterday with 101,256 Republican votes versus 100,875 who voted against him. The only reason it wasn't a late night nail-biter with a certain recount given a mere 381 vote margin is, of course, that the votes against him were shared by two opponents.
So where do we go from here?
Pragmatic Fletcher loyalists will quickly point out primary opponent supporters have no place else to go in November. And really, they are right. Steve Beshear has very serious credibility problems with most people who occupy the political middle. But here's the thing: no one can wish away the nasty primary we just had and a lot of people who supported Northup won't forget. The hard truth is a lot of them can be replaced, though, by new voters who show up to vote against the Casinocrat Beshear.
Harder still for the small minority of fiscal conservatives in the state -- by that I mean those who prefer to eschew pork spending even in their own backyards -- is the clear evidence they no longer have a party to turn to.
Given all that, I'm going to the Unity Rally Saturday 6 pm at RPK in Frankfort. I'm for Governor Fletcher in the fall. And that means writing and speaking in favor of his re-election.
But I will also spend the next four years advocating for conservative principles, hopeful that 2011 will bring better support for issues like tax reform, education reform, health insurance reform, entitlement reform, and economic development reform. Governor Fletcher can and probably will do better on these issues in a second term and Steve Beshear would beyond a shadow of a doubt be worse, but we really need some breakthroughs in these areas.
Given the electoral math, the Fletcher campaign has little motivation to reach out to intraparty opponents now. So don't expect them to. But Kentucky lacks the resources to thrive under big-government policies. Frustrated fiscal hawks need to stay engaged in the process.