The picture above is of one of my favorite places in the country. That would be Keeneland Race Track in Lexington, KY. I went to the University of Kentucky and despite being a loyal and proud Chicagoan,, have always considered the state of Kentucky a second home.
It turns out that the Obama campaign is considering an expansion of their targets to include my beloved Kentucky. I have to presume that they have some polling that shows them making some inroads in the Bluegrass State.
Now unless a bigger than expected Democratic wave hits the country I can't see Obama winning Kentucky in three weeks.
Yet I can see him forcing the Republicans to defend it a bit. An Obama or Biden visit to Louisville, or sending the Clintons in a couple times could really send the GOP into a big time defensive mode.
Plus ad buys in Kentucky are pretty cheap compared to markets like Philadelphia or Washington DC (which targets Northern Virginia). The Obama camp could go up with their positive ads and appeal to independents and increase turnout among Democratic voters.
The benefit is that they will be able to do so with little to no counter ads from the McCain campaign. I just can't imagine the McCain team will have the dollars to go on TV in this red state and be able to poach any blue states.
So why do this if he can't win?
There's a second benefit to upping Obama's positives in Kentucky.
The Senate race in Kentucky has gotten unexpectedly close and this isn't any other Senate race.
This race has the Senate Minority Leader, and ironically arch nemesis of John McCain, Mitch McConnell, in his closest election probably since his 1st campaign in 1984. He is facing multiple time Democratic losing candidate, successful businessman Bruce Lunsford.
When you can take out an iconic Senator,,, you gotta do it, because if not, they'll probably die in office. McConnell certainly fits that bill. Knocking him off would be an incredible body blow to the Republicans in the Senate and set off an internal battle amongst Senate Republicans to try and replace him as the top Republican in the Senate.
This race looked to be a sure thing for the Republicans two of the last three public polls have Lunsford trailing but inside the margin of error and both campaigns internal polls, which they released, have McConnell under 50%.
Obama coming into the state in anyway could really rally the base of the Democratic Party which has seen success in recent years winning Congressional seats, almost defeating Senator Jim Bunning with a no-name candidate, and winning the Governorship a few years back.
All I can say is this,, as much as I care about Kentucky and hope that Lunsford wins,,, I'd just assume that the Obama team put their resources into states that they can really win. Then again, this campaign has the resources to play offense and as long as they don't skimp on a buy to win Colorado, Ohio, or Virginia,,, then I hope they can get Kentucky too!