Saturday, May 09, 2015

Kentucky hates them some Christian Laettner

By Richard Barry

Hey Kentucky, can't forget me, can you?

I thought I'd check in on this year's governor's races. There are three. Bobby Jindal is term-limited in Louisiana, making that an open seat, which could make it a competitive race given how unpopular Jindal has become. Probably not.  Phil Bryant is the Republican incumbent in Mississippi, and will win reelection assuming something really odd doesn't happen. It's Mississippi. 

The race to watch, though, is Kentucky. Incumbent Democratic Governor Steve Beshear is term-limited. 

Jennifer Duffy at the Cook Political Report writes this about the hopefuls:
Democrats have settled on Attorney General Jay Conway as their nominee, but he is going to have to wait until the May 19 primary to learn which candidate he will face in November. Republicans are hosting a four-way contest featuring businessman and 2014 U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin, state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, businessman and former Louisville Councilman Hal Heiner, and former state Supreme Court Justice Will Scott.

Every indication is it will be competitive.

Okay, we'll pay attention, but here's the thing about the Kentucky race that caught my eye. 

According to a story that appeared in the Lexington Herald-Leader, during a debate on a Kentucky sports radio station, "James Comer claimed that Hal Heiner was paying people from his past to tell lies about him to the media." To accentuate the point, Comer referred to Heiner as "the Christian Laettner of Kentucky politics."

Here's the backstory, courtesy of Sports Illustrated
Laettner is reviled in [Kentucky] for sinking a game-winning buzzer-beater for Duke against Kentucky in the 1992 Elite Eight, knocking out the Wildcats and sending the Blue Devils to the Final Four.

If you are from Kentucky, or are a Duke fan or a very dedicated college hoops fanatic, you might know that.

I still don't quite grasp how claiming a political opponent engaging in dirty tricks is anything like getting your buck kicked fair and square by a star player, but I guess hate is hate.

Through the wonders of YouTube, here is the shot that made Christian Laettner one of the most reviled figures in the history of the proud state of Kentucky. Those folks must be some serious roundball fans.  

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  • The extent of my knowledge comes from the movie Hoosiers, but they seemed to really like basketball in that movie. But I do know that people aren't exactly rational when it comes to their voting patterns. Voting against a politician because he beat you 23 years ago in a basketball game makes perfect sense.

    But I have a question since you keep up on this stuff. Louisiana had a long history of Democratic governors. Jindal was the first Republican in recent memory. Is this due to the mass exodus of poor people leaving the state?

    By Blogger Unknown, at 4:27 PM  

  • The situation post-Katrina didn't hurt Republicans. Historically the state has been marginally Democratic primarily because of N.O. and the size of the state's black population. But even Democrats in the state are fairly conservative.

    By Blogger Richard K. Barry, at 4:56 PM  

  • Yeah, I think Buddy Roemer was a Democrat when he was governor. With Democrats like that, you might as well have bigots, I mean Republicans.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 1:22 PM  

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