On November 2, 2010, the Bluegrass State elected union-busting, Tea Party Republican Rand Paul to the U.S. Senate. Paul called his victory “a Tea Party tidal wave.”
There was barely a tea party trickle Tuesday. Gov. Steve Beshear, the union-endorsed Democrat, earned a second term in a landslide over Republican David Williams, who would have been Kentucky’s version of Scott Walker, Wisconsin’s union-busting governor. All but one other Democrat won, to boot.
The biggest loser was the Republican who plastered “TEA Party Endorsed” on his yard signs. Bill Johnson got just 39 percent of the vote against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes.
“I have a message,” Paul also said in his victory speech, “– a message from the people of Kentucky, a message that is loud and clear and does not mince words: ‘We’ve come to take our government back!’”
Kentuckians spoke loudly and clearly Tuesday. They didn’t mince words. They wanted Steve and Jane Beshear to stay in the governor’s mansion.
Democrats also will be lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, state treasurer and state auditor. Every one was union-backed. (The GOP did manage to keep the secretary of agriculture’s office.)
Beshear’s pro-union and generally moderate — by Kentucky standards, anyway — politics are a bitter brew to the Tea Party. Admittedly, some Tea Partiers never warmed to Williams. He beat their guy in the GOP primary.
But Williams and every other Republican on the ballot pandered to Tea Party-tilting Kentuckians and others of the “Obama’s-a-Kenyan-born-Islamo-socialist-America-hater”persuasion.
Next to Johnson, the Tea Party favorite on Tuesday’s ballot was Todd O’Poole, another uber-conservative union-despiser. He sought to unseat Attorney Gen. Jack Conway, whom Paul beat in the senate race.
Conway clobbered O’Poole, whose endorsers included Tea Party Olympian Sarah Palin.
It’s no secret that Palin is no fan of organized labor. Neither is the tea party, which got crashed in the Buckeye State on Tuesday, too. The Ohio tea party crowd backed the Republican union-gutting law that curbed collective bargaining rights for public employees. By a whopping margin, our Ohio neighbors nixed the measure.
Says Kentucky State AFL-CIO President Bill Londgrian:
“In Tuesday’s elections in Kentucky and Ohio, voters rejected the poison tea that has been poured into the political process. Defeated Kentucky gubernatorial candidate David Williams, who professed his admiration for tea party backed union-bustingWisconsin Governor Scott Walker, found that the poison tea served up by him and other Republican candidates did not taste the same as it did just one year ago when voters were fooled by the rhetoric of tea party candidates like Rand Paul.”
Londrigan adds that after sipping “the poison tea served by Rand Paul and his Tea Party cohorts, voters in Kentucky and Ohio overwhelmingly defeated the pro-corporate tea party agenda and elected candidates that will stand with working families. With these victories for labor endorsed candidates and the defeat of Ohio’s SB5, it is clear that American voters have awoken to the reality of the tea party’s agenda and dumped their poison tea into the harbor.”